When I was thirteen years old, my parents divorced. I lived with my father and he was determined to teach me to take care of my household. He taught me to cook, to launder and iron my clothes, and to clean the house. The latter exercise was the most unpleasant and I initially resisted. My father, sensing my reluctance, seized upon this teaching moment. He picked up a toilet brush and led me to the bathroom.
“You’re going to learn to do it!” He then proceeded to vigorously clean the toilet bowl. After he used the brush, he got on his hands and knees and, with his gloved hands, showed me how to clean the toilet seat and rim.
“Dad, do you have to use your hands?” I exasperatingly asked. “ Can’t you just use the brush?”
My father shook his head. “The brush will never get everything clean. This is the only way you can clean all the small cracks and areas around the seat.”
My father was a dentist, a professional who was very successful in his career. He treated everyone with respect, regardless of their socioeconomic status. He also never shied away from any task and never thought anything was beneath his dignity. He led by example and hoped to instill these same values within me.
My father’s example made a lasting impression. When I began my company over twelve years ago, I made it a point to clean the bathroom myself. I told my staff that I did this, not because I expected them to do this, but to follow the example that my father set for me. I would never ask them to do any task that I was not willing to do. I was willing to get my hands dirty along with the rest of them.
When I was introduced to Jesus Christ in college, His example of humility and service to His disciples deeply resonated within me.
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you. Truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him
John 13:14-16 (CSB)
Jesus’ example of washing the feet of His disciples may not resonate as strongly within our culture as it did during His time. It was menial labor and demeaning, a task that was only performed by slaves. He was their teacher but He condescended to the status of a slave to show His disciples what it meant to serve one another in the Kingdom of God, His Father.
“You’re going to learn to do it.”
I did, Dad. Thank you for the life lesson. It pointed the way for me to understand the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for me by dying on the Cross for my sins.
Praise God for His grace and mercy to all who repent of their sins and place their trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.