Want To Lead Me? Come Wash My Feet

Believer or not, the one we call Jesus was a leader.

The story of the “washing of the feet” took a different meaning since I started leading.  For those not familiar with it, this is the scene where Jesus takes a towel and a bowl of water and starts washing the disciples feet before dinner.

This story defines servant leadership for me.

In the times of Jesus this task was mainly performed by slaves or people considered of low honorable status.  Adding salt to injury, was the fact there were no toilets so people just took their buckets full of feces and emptied them on the street.  Top it off with sandals as the primary footwear and the animal waste everywhere. Get the picture?

I can’t fathom washing someone’s feet in those conditions.  Would you do it?

People called Jesus Teacher and Master. Yet, he chose to do something a slave had to do.

Jesus’ action contradicted everything that cultured believed.  Titles, honor, and external image, were all thrown out the window with his act of servitude.

The best part of the story is the fact that Jesus’ did it.  Not said but done.  In His words: “You call me Teacher and Lord…So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:13-15

We talk a lot about vision, we talk a lot about culture, and purpose.  But actions will always speak louder than words.

Great leaders serve.  We must always ask ourselves “what am I doing today, to serve those I lead?”

“What you do thunders so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson




One thought on “Want To Lead Me? Come Wash My Feet

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  1. I worked at a Catholic hospital where the executive leadership team actually did this on Holy Thursday for anyone who attended. It indeed is a humbling experience, but so insightful.

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