John 13:1-8 (NRSV)

1 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,
4 got up from the table, a took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 
5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

1 Peter 5:5 (NRSV)

5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. a And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”                            

DEVOTION – Antoine J. Murphy (Wisconsin)

At the time, I was convinced I was doing the honorable Christian thing.  After all, doesn’t the Bible say that it’s better to give than to receive? (Acts 20:35).  I thought turning down my friend’s offer of food was part of learning “in whatsoever state I am, therewith no content” (phil. 4:11, KJV).

Kindhearted enough not to take “no” for an answer, that same friend blessed me the very next day with a bag of groceries.  Included were foods that I had been wanting to taste but could never afford.

Still accustomed to being the “giver,” I insisted that he give the groceries to someone who “really” needed them.  But when he left the food on my table, it was clear that God had told him I needed it.

While enjoying the food, I remembered Peter’s refusal to allow Jesus to wash his tired feet.  Suddenly it sank in; I was a mirror image of the prideful apostle.  Raised to be self-sufficient, I viewed letting others do something for me as a sign of weakness.  As I meditated further on the scriptures, the Holy Spirit blessed me with wonderful enlightenment:  Part of serving others is letting them serve me.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The Lord of lords wants to serve me; will I let him?

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, help us understand that being willing to receive is itself an act of love for another.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.