Read John 13:12-17
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (NIV)
Apparently there was a sign in the kitchen of a socially active Christian community. It read, Everyone wants a revolution, no one wants to do the dishes. Reminds me of my early church youth-group days. We were all eager to change the world for Jesus but left the household chores to mum and dad.
Christian living is immersed in the everyday and ordinary. Those mundane activities which require a certain amount of discipline are the foundations for any larger world-changing activities which might attract our attention. Without mundane disciplines, we cannot move to earth-shattering programmes.
So many church leaders bid us focus on the ‘big picture’ and neglect the everyday tasks of caring and listening and reflection. No church can tackle the big picture unless the ordinary disciplines are being taught and practised.
Jesus certainly had his eye on the big picture. But he never lost sight of the need to be a humble servant. He didn’t do the dishes but he did wash the feet. He commands us to do the basic things, the often overlooked things, the occasionally uncomfortable things. Changing the world for the better began with a bit of water applied to dirty feet. And for us, the dishes still need to be done.