“It is more blessed to give than to receive”
I would like us to think about the night of the Last Supper and how at Our Lord got up, took a basin and washed the feet of his apostles.
Imagine how you would feel if Jesus were about to wash our feet. (Pause – 1 min)
I expect many of us find it easy to relate to the reaction of Peter. It was an action Peter couldn’t accept. In seeing Jesus kneeling at his feet he said “You will never wash my feet”
Jesus replied: “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.”
There is no sentimentality in Jesus as he looks up at us with his basin and towel. His words are strong and leave no room for compromise.
Jesus asks us to face the danger which our reluctance to be served puts us in. If we do not allow him to serve us, then we cut ourselves off from Him. Unless we learn to receive we are not really one with God. And this goes through our whole relationship with God. On one level we take Christ’s sacrifice as His supreme gift to us, we acknowledge our weakness and our need for His grace and power, but then on a different level we rush around madly trying to earn it all by frantic service. It’s as though, like Peter, we can’t bear the thought of not deserving it.
On this Maundy Thursday let us try to abandon the pretence that there is no vestige left in us of resistance to being served and loved. We need to accept quietly and joyfully all that Christ has done for us, all that He gives us, realising that His fellowship doesn’t depend on our immediately giving something back.
The same goes for our personal relationships, other people need to feel wanted too. If we are always doing things for them, and making their ministry to us difficult and unwelcome, how can they experience the joy of giving? If it is always one sided how can either of us be whole? It is, in this context, as blessed to receive as to give, and perhaps more so.
How often in our prayer life do we look down at Jesus in prayer and consent to his washing away the daily grime of our frustrations, struggles and mistakes? Do we prefer to try and do it for ourselves?
Lord give us the humility to accept your humility.