18 Apr Washing feet
Sometimes when I think about Jesus and His character, I get overwhelmed. The guy is just incredible. Trying to be like Jesus sometimes seems like an extremely tall order. Take for instance his decision to wash his disciples’ feet. When you look at it as a 21st century dude, it seems like an odd somewhat romantic stunt Jesus pulled to teach his guys humility and drive home a point. But then let’s tweak the tale a little to reflect more of modern day reality.
Imagine you were a football team captain, and not just a captain, in fact you were the most valuable player of your team and the level of your game was pure wizadry. You were also technically talented and taught most of the boys great deal of what they know about fitness and focus. You were sure to turn professional soon. Then one Saturday afternoon when you and the boys had gathered for some suya and cokes at the local watering hole you took off your fancy jacket and picked an old rag and lay it on your lap. Then you had your guys come to you, gather the shoes and began to polish them one by one. And not just a quick rub and shine either, you gave each shoe a good scrub with a piece of foam dipped in soapy water, then rubbed it down with a towel and set it aside to dry fully while you did the same with the second foot. When that was done you smeared a coat of polish with a toucher, let it dry while you did the second foot again and carefully buffed it to a high shine with the brush.
You went ahead to do that for 20 pair of shoes, some of them requiring several minutes to dislodge the caked and dried mud between the ridges of the soles before you even started scrubbing, by the time you were halfway through, there were brown stains on your Polo Ralph Lauren T shirt despite the care you took and you had gotten black polish under your nails and smeared some of it on your jeans.
Your teammates have been standing beside you with worried looks. They respect their captain and think the world of him, but don’t really know what to make of this wierd behaviour.
Step into the story for a moment to consider the scenario: does it feel like something you do? As for me it is certainly not. In fact I guess I’d find it easier to do ‘heroic’ acts of sacrifice, like going into a well to bring out someone that fell in, of maybe rushing into a burning house to save a kid or diving into a pool to rescue a drowning friend(I can’t swim yet, so I guess this point is moot) or hey maybe even step in front of a gun-toting terrorist. Those are grand and honorable things, as crazy and foolish as some of them may seem, they look more like acts of genuine love(never mind the underlying hero complex that may be at work).
But to gather the exceedingly smelly shoes of 20 hard riding boys and begin polishing them? Certainly not! Polishing shoes seems like a job for the lowest of the low. It is a chore I am often reluctant to even do for myself, I’d most times rather leave it for a street urchin around my street corner to do for 20 naira while I wait.
But I guess doing messy inglorious work far out of the limelight often without any thanks is what love means at least some of the time. So while I am not thinking about polishing shoes for some people any time soon, I’ll appreciate the lowly opportunites to make a difference even if they are not so ‘fufilling.’ (It’s what our Lord was willing to do).
Happy Easter folks!
By Ifeoluwa Odedina