What do you consider beneath you? Is it fixing your own plate at dinner? Is it fixing your wife’s plate? Is it getting up early and making breakfast for everyone? Washing the dishes? Is it beneath you to help your neighbor with their yard work? To do volunteer work? To talk to the man in dirty clothes who always stands on the street corner? Maybe you find it beneath you to show kindness or patience with a certain person/s who has wronged you or who you think doesn’t deserve it. We all have something in our lives we consider to be beneath us, but when we look at the Scriptures we don’t see that from Jesus at all. Whether He was talking to and showing kindness to a Samaritan woman or standing up for a woman caught in adultery, or spending time with tax collectors and eating in their homes, or touching lepers and treating them with dignity—we don’t find a single instance where Jesus thought Himself too good to do something.
“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.” (John 13:14)
Before eating the Passover meal, Jesus washed His disciples feet, an act that would have been beneath everyone in the room. It was a disgusting job that only a slave in bondage would have performed and was considered the lowliest form of servitude. Even Jews who were slaves did not have to wash the feet of their masters. But Jesus did not consider it beneath Him, and when He washed the disciples’ feet He showed them that He would take even the lowliest position among them—He would do for them what they considered to be beneath their stature. This should not have been too surprising for the disciples, as they had already heard Him teach about taking the lowest place.
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:10-11)
“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28)
Of course, the greatest act that Jesus did not consider to be beneath Him was the very act of leaving Heaven, giving up His perfect Spiritual form for a human one, taking on the very nature of a servant, and dying the most humiliating death man has ever created. How could we consider anything to be beneath us, when our Lord has done that? So let us humbly serve each other and live out Philippians 2:3: “Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself.” For when we think of others as higher than ourselves, no one can be beneath us.
Practice that this week and choose to wash someone’s feet. Pick one of those things you consider to be beneath you and step out and do it. Maybe it’s fixing your spouse’s dinner plate or offering to do the dishes. Maybe there’s someone you need to show kindness and patience to even though you feel they don’t deserve it. If Jesus can leave Heaven for you, then you can leave your pride for Him. Let us humble ourselves as Jesus did, taking on the very nature of a servant. Let’s not be above service, even the lowliest kind, and we will bear that humble, servant-fruit.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.