Growing w/ Grace

Having a servant’s heart is beneficial for self-growth


Sometimes, I still feel claustrophobic when thinking about how many women could fit into one small downstairs bathroom at Westside Apostolic Pentecostal Church. Everyone gathered together to make sure they were ready to participate in foot washing and communion during one of the first Sundays of the new year.
The sound of the water sloshing around as the rubber buckets are being set out with lines of chairs surrounding them follows that memory. Starting at the age of 4, I would annually participate in foot washing and communion. And although most high schoolers reading this are probably making a face or wondering why I have the audacity to write this in The Journal, it’s something that has taught me lessons that I strive to apply everyday.
The purpose behind foot washing specifically is found in John 13. In the King James Version, it shows Jesus is at The Last Supper where he begins to wash the feet of his disciples, or closest followers, at this dinner.
There’s clear hesitation in verses 6 to 10 from some of the disciples, mainly Peter, thinking that it wouldn’t be right for Jesus to wash their feet considering his authority in their lives. He thought it was too degrading for a man of such honor, but Jesus came back to him saying “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
After they realize how serious this is, they invite nothing less than to have Jesus wash their feet. One of the most interesting parts about this is that one of the disciples, Judas, sitting at the table was going to betray him. And Jesus washed his feet with a pure heart anyways.
On the surface, this story might not mean much to most, but to me I see a story of humility and loving past boundaries. A story about serving those around you. Every time I’m reminded of this passage or I take part in it annually myself, I see how humbling it is.
To have to get down on your knees in front of a peer at church and wash their feet while praying for them takes such a pure and humble heart. Overall, to me, it shows the clear message that even when we aren’t physically washing the feet of others, we should still take the concept with us.
The concept of serving others around you and not literally, but washing everyone’s feet daily. Having the humility to serve others who you might not agree with and with a genuine, loving heart. We should have this servant mindset every single day.
And it truly shows God’s endless love that he knew someone was going to betray him, and yet he served and humbled himself to wash that man’s feet. He could’ve confronted Judas, never spoken to him again or held bitterness, yet he chose to do the opposite.
This is an example of selfless love that we should aspire to show at all times. And though not everyone participates in this sacred tradition I value so greatly, the concept is one people should apply to their lives regardless.
Loving and serving others to humble yourself is a great way to grow into a better person. I’ve focused my columns all year on growing by reflecting, failing or being vulnerable. And I truly believe all of those are great ways to grow, but this is a story and practice that exemplifies growth like no other.
It exemplifies checking your heart and trying to be the most loving and genuine person possible. It exemplifies loving others despite the circumstances, because we all know life is just too short. And it exemplifies the lengths we should go for those around us, without any incentive at all.
So, even though the raised eyebrows and weird looks probably haven’t left the reader due to the topic, foot washing and communion is something that I reflect so fondly of. One of the most sacred practices that I hold so close to my heart, and strive to do everyday in spirit. A not-so-physical basin and towel will remain in my heart, because I strive to not only grow in him, but grow as a human being in this complex world.