When the girls in the Mother/Daughter Bible study I was leading spied the tables of nail polish, lotions, scrubs and other spa items, they could hardly wait for the pampering to begin.
Then we pulled the old bait and switch: “Girls, tonight you’re going to wash your mom’s feet and give her a pedicure. Then she can do the same for you.”
After a moment of stunned silence, the reaction from the girls was immediate and nearly unanimous:
“Oooo… that’s SO gross!”
“Really? I’m not going to wash your stinky feet!”
“Do we have to use the same water?! Yuck!!”
Okay, time out, girlies.
If we’re going to talk about gross, let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we? Now, remind me, who was it that changed your smelly diapers? Cleans up after you after you get sick? Does your dirty laundry?
So, let’s see … scrubbing and wiping your mom’s feet after they’ve soaked in a tub of scented water? Doesn’t even register on the ‘ick’ meter.
I kept those thoughts to myself. And after a little prodding, the girls soon succumbed to the intoxicating lure of scented bath products.
My daughter Molly’s first words after we sat down? “I get to go first!”
Yep, the object lesson on servanthood was clearly making an impact.
Within a few minutes, though, an amazing thing happened. I looked around the room to see moms and daughters laughing and enjoying each other. Both seemed to be equally enjoying serving and being served. One even commented: “This is the funnest thing we’ve done yet!”
There’s something about serving each other that breaks down barriers. It’s supernatural. Because left to our own humanness, we’re inherently selfish.
Even moms. True, I’m always doing things for my children. But I don’t always have an attitude of service.
I sometimes catch myself doing things for my kids grudgingly or out of obligation. Or, more often, I unconsciously expect something in return – gratitude, love, cooperation. I deserve it, I reason. And I can become disappointed or resentful when they don’t comply.
And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. John 13:14-17