LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
— Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
The scriptures teach that God is committed to one major objective in the lives of all His people; conforming us to the image of His Son. What is the “image of His Son?” It is found in the words of Jesus, Himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
It makes sense then to say that God desires the same for us. After bringing us into His family through faith in His Son, the Lord sets His sights on building into us the same qualities that made Jesus distinct—a servant’s heart and a giving spirit. It’s so easy to lose sight of our primary calling as Christians. Even those who lead must do so with an attitude of genuine humility and an authentic desire to help others.
The best-known symbols of Christianity are the cross, the ichthus (fish symbol), and the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Probably the least known—yet most appropriate for the Christian—is the symbol of the towel and basin. The towel Jesus used when in humility and service, he washed and wiped his disciples dirty feet. Jesus instructed his disciples after washing their feet that they were to wash one another’s feet.
J. Dudley Woodbury tells a poignant true story that occurred in the dismal refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. The fighting between the Majahideen in post-Soviet Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban resulted in thousands of refugees flooding into the camps near the border. Most of the children in the camps ran around barefoot in both the intense heat and intense cold.
A Christian organization brought in hundreds of sandals for the children but decided not to just distribute them but care for the children’s feet as well. So they utilized as many Christian volunteers as possible who washed the children’s filthy feet, put medication on their sores and prayed for them silently as they gave out the sandals.
As he tells the story, some months later a Muslim primary school teacher in the camp asked her students who the best Muslims were. One little girl raised her hand and responded, “The kafirs.” (unbelievers).
After the teacher recovered from cardiac arrest, she asked, “Why?” The little girl said, “The Mujahedeen killed my father, but the kafirs washed my feet!”
Missions to the Muslims, he concludes, will be affected less by the flames of 9/11, or even the flames that started the Arab Spring, than by the inner flames that are ignited if we so follow our Lord.
RESPONSE: Today I will look for ways to serve others in genuine humility as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Lord, help me love as You did, serve others as You did and give of myself as You did!
1. J. Dudley Woodberry, “Muslim Missions: Then & Now,” Christianity Today (September 2011), p. 36.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.