Many symbols of Christianity immediately bring to mind scenes from the life of our Savior. When we see a cross, a fish, a shepherd’s staff or a basket and two fishes we are challenged to take action toward others and to mirror the acts of our Lord.
Another such symbol is that of the towel and water basin, which depicts the night that our Lord knelt before His disciples to wash their feet. Many truths flow from this scene-it conveys extreme love, humility, grace and, perhaps above all, service.
An accurate symbol of evangelical Christianity might include a book, a chair, a guitar and a dollar. These would reference ever learning, ever sitting, ever worshiping and ever giving so that others can serve in our behalf. There is nothing wrong with some of that. However, the Christian life should be much, much more than soaking up an experience but doing little to act out the truths we discover. These truths should be so life changing that we are compelled to reveal them to others.
Christians today are particularly service challenged. There are various reasons for it. To be honest, it takes a great deal of time and effort just to keep the machinery of the church going. To have an outstanding Sunday School takes time. To have a great choir or praise team takes practice. Some church members believe that Christianity is just about church attendance; they think they have done their religious thing by showing up on Sunday. The idea of donning a towel and carrying a water basin to serve others doesn’t occur to them.
It seems to me that if we are to be imitators of Christ we must find time in our schedules to serve others. We must be willing to wash feet, touch lepers, feed the hungry, visit the prisoner and on and on.
There is no dearth of opportunity. The poor, the hungry, prisoners, lepers and dirty feet abound. It is not necessary to travel around the world to feed the hungry-they are in our own towns. The homeless are found not only in the ghettos of Nairobi-they are just down the road and across the street. AIDS victims suffer not only in Africa-they live in every state.
My purpose is not to provide directions to the specific places where hurting humanity needs our touch but to challenge us to put our hands in the water basin and take up the towel. We must move beyond “sit and listen” Christianity to serve the hurting and needy.
I am both encouraged and challenged by the younger generation. They are not satisfied merely with worship experiences. They take seriously the admonition of Paul in Romans 12. They have discovered that worship is more than music and preaching. Worship is offering one’s body as a sacrifice usable in the hands of the Master. Sacrificial service in daily experience is worship.
So maybe it is time all of us sat a little less and knelt more often at the feet of those who need the towel and water basin. Somehow I think our Lord will be pleased because serving others makes us more like Him.