I loathe the title of this post. Absolutely hate it. But it fits. And if it fits it ships. Or sticks. Or… I have got to stop writing on this blog after 10pm. That’s about two hours after my brain shuts off.
What was I saying? Ugh. People pleaser. Such a yucky connotation. Maybe I hate it so much because I hate cliches. Maybe I just don’t like the use of alliterations. Maybe it just brings up too much hurt from never being able to please people like I thought I should be able to.
Ding ding ding ding ding!!
There is a beautiful song that’s been out for like, ever. Written by Chris Tomlin it is one of my favorite worship songs… “We fall down, we lay our crowns, at the feet of Jesus.”
And there we are with feet again. But there’s something meaningful about noticing the often neglected members. There’s something powerful about laying down your pride and just sitting at the feet of Jesus. There’s power at sitting at other people’s feet, too.
Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
Y’all, this picture just breaks me.
Dudes, homeslice poured out the best perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus with it. She laid down her pride, her money, her stature: all at the feet of Jesus. And from her doing that the house was filled with what I imagine to be a beautiful fragrance. I picture her lavishing it on his feet and wiping the excess off with her hair; not caring if her hair got dirty or not. Who cares about dirt when you’ve got Jesus right there; allowing you to touch his feet. There’s something intimate and beautiful and just gripping about it. And the whole house could smell what happened. They could catch a glimpse of her offering.
“That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
John 12:4, 5
Oh, Judas. How can you not see? Jesus is worth more than money. And how do you not remember how he fed five thousand with two fishes and a loaf of bread? Why don’t you just enjoy this moment? Where did you go off track? More importantly; why don’t you ask for help to get back on track? I hate it for Mary: she gets ridiculed by one of the disciples (who, for the record, was a thief and betrayer) and called out for not using her money for what he considered to be a greater good. Like there’s anything greater than worshiping God. Psssh. Bottom line: Judas wanted Mary to fit into a box she just flat out refused to be closed up in. And FYI: Jesus didn’t make her go into that box, either.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
Luke 10:38, 39
I love that Mary. I so long to just sit at the feet of Jesus, listening to him speak, soaking in everything I can while in his presence. I close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to just sit with him, and to sit close to him. To hear secrets and catch his facial expressions when he said certain phrases. To pick up on his humor and the meanings behind his parables. To hear what others won’t hear because they’re too busy to hear what is being whispered. Mary got to sit at his feet. Hear the tone and inflection of his voice. Y’all, we can have that, too. If we’ll sit and just listen. Hushhh…
But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
When you want to complain think of this: who is my complaint really with?
And there we have Heidi. I mean Martha! Precious Martha. So busy making sure everyone’s cup is full and bellies are satisfied. So busy working to make sure everyone else is comfortable and satiated. Just working so hard for everyone else to be (what’s that word again? oh yeah) pleased. So, she did what any good sister would do and tattled on her sister. Like Jesus didn’t know where Mary was. I honestly do not know if Martha was a younger sibling but she sure tattled like one. I should know: I’m a baby sister. And an expert tattler. I will tell on you in a heartbeat. At the very least I’ll tell God. So I totally get Martha. I work so hard in my home and job to make sure things are taken care of; to make sure no one has to ask for a document or dinner or clean shirt or an email… That I forget the people I’m serving. And I never measure up against the unrealistic standard I set. I’m so busy serving I forget the reason why I’m serving or if there is a more effective way to serve the individual. Martha was so busy serving Jesus she forgot to ask him how to best serve him. She didn’t take the time to listen. Yeah. Sounds like me sometimes.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
Jesus knew who he was, whose he was, where he came from, and where he was headed. (That could teach an impactful lesson in itself.) So knowing he had authority over everything he delegated feet washing to someone else. What? That wasn’t what he did? But isn’t that what the big shots do? Not this man. No, not the Son of God. He took off his robe (which was also symbolic) and washed his disciples’ feet and used the towel he had wrapped around him to dry them off. Y’all, this towel was literally on his body, close to his skin. And he dried off their feet he had washed with what was essentially his shirt. Their feet skin cells close to his belly’s skin. And yet he was still misunderstood: Peter didn’t think his Lord should get dirty. Jesus knows who he is. And Jesus ain’t afraid of your dirt. Jesus is not afraid to get dirty and do work. Neither should we be afraid to do work, get dirty, and just be real with people. He is not afraid of sin. He is not afraid of rejection. He is not intimidated. Because he just wants to love you. He just wants to sit at your feet, and listen, and wipe away the yuck that gets trapped in your toes. Rub away the callouses that you think are protection but are really crippling the way you walk. Jesus is real. You can be real, too.
In the beginning of my journey with Jesus my Other told me that because Jesus lives, I can live. Take it a step further: because Jesus is real, I can be real. Because he is not intimidated by other people’s criticism or gossip or misunderstanding, I don’t have to be intimidated. Jesus didn’t come to this earth as a sacrifice to make you happy or please any of us. Nope. He did it to save us from a life that will cripple, destroy, and kill us. He did it so that we could walk and live free.
Recap: Mary who rubbed her perfume on the feet of Jesus was criticized and condemned by a disciple (who should have known better). Mary, Martha’s sister, was tattled on. Jesus, the Savior of the world, was misunderstood. But it didn’t stop them from getting close. It didn’t stop them from pleasing God. And that is the heart of it all: please God. You want to please God? Love his people. Not just the people that attend your church or believe the same way as you or tolerate you because you’re related. But love those people you disagree with. Love those people who get boycotted and picketed against. (Newsflash: you don’t love them by boycotting them or picketing against them. But that’s for another post that may never come to fruition.) Love them even when they misunderstand. Love them even when they criticize. Love them though they tattle and gossip about you. Love them because you love Jesus. Don’t be afraid of their feet. Don’t be afraid of their dirt. Jesus is bigger and cleaner and softer than any of the nastiest feet out there. Be brave today: sit at the feet of Jesus, let him sit at yours. And then go sit at someone else’s feet.