I listened to Philippians today. It’s a letter from Paul to the church in Philippi. One theme stuck out to me: servanthood. Paul reminds the body of believers to serve others, to be humble, to work hard with your body and to take note of others doing the same, to become like Jesus even to the point of death. This seems to run perpendicular to the idea that “every knee shall bow at Jesus’ name”, but this is what we are called to do.
My mind wandered to the stage of life I am in currently and the tasks required of me to serve, tending to the needs of those that can’t quite take care of those needs all on their own yet. I wash bodies, clothes, sheets and towels, dishes, food, counters, floors, windows, myself, the dog, the sinks and tubs all these things are washed in, and even the car. I go through a lot of dish soap, vinegar and baking soda. I am beginning to realize that there is a lot of washing that happens in the Bible, too.
You see, we are cleaned by the washing of the water with the WORD (Eph 5:26), we are invited to draw near to God with a true heart and have our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22), and that the Living Water that we can use to do all this washing will never run dry (John 4:14). This washing is soul shaping.
These things we strive for- titles, status, degrees and diplomas to hang on the wall, letters after our last name, wealth, accolades from colleagues, recognition from employers- aren’t what we are actually striving for in this upside-down, seemingly mixed-up way of living. Those things can all be good and lead to other good things, but at the simplest level, we are called to do the sacred things.
Being humble is sacred work.
Serving is sacred work.
Washing is sacred work.
I don’t always wash with a pleasant attitude. In fact, lately, I have joked at myself wishing for a maid or personal assistant of some kind...and we all know there is a little bit of truth in every joke. I hope to remember to use all of these opportunities to remind myself of the power in serving well and that all this washing I do is actually truly holy work, smelly feet and all.