“I’m sorry, this momma is done for the night.”
I had had it.
I was done with a capital D. So much so that I even let the words slip out of my mouth in frustration to one of my kids.
It had been one of those weeks. One very sick little girl had spent three full nights awake with a high fever. She was kept company by a brother who kept waking up claiming that he “just couldn’t sleep” (which I’m sure was legit, but oh.my.goodness). Another was seriously trying my patience in the obedience department, and the fourth sweet child just wanted me to listen for hours on end to the long list of inventions (mostly involving jet propulsion and duct tape) that had been forming in that brain of his that never stops.
Jesus help me.
I signed up for this, I know full well. And I am blessed beyond measure to be sure. And truly, all these years later, I expect the unexpected and the sacrifice that comes with kids. I really do. Oh, I know it in my head, but when my flesh and my heart are weak, Jesus help me. In my flesh, I’m not naturally built to handle this kind of sleep deprivation on a regular basis and still practice any resemblance of patience at the end of a long day.
At our weakest moments, if we’re completely honest, I’m guessing that we’ve all been here about something at some point in our lives. Deep down in our core, we’re just plain tired of the sacrifice.
Maybe you’re the honest, loyal employee who fails to get recognized while others cheat their way to the top.
Maybe you’re the church worker who has faithfully, quietly served behind the scenes without an accolade in years.
Maybe you’re the caregiver who provides selflessly, or the patient who fights endlessly.
Or maybe you’re the friend, daughter, sister, wife, mom… who always seems to be on the giving end, but rarely on the receiving one.
Maybe, you’re just really, really trying to live for Jesus, and the giving up of the things of this world seems like an overwhelming price to pay.
The world and a thousand self-help books will tell you to quit. That the sacrifice is too much. That you should look out for you.
But Jesus came with a counter-cultural message that would change the world. And He didn’t just preach it. He actually lived it.
He served in the suffering…
When Jesus gathered with His disciples at the Last Supper, He had every right to demand to be treated like their King. His body was surely tired from some of his last grueling days of ministry on earth. He had selflessly served – over and over feeding the poor and healing the sick - yet the Jews continued in their unbelief that Jesus really was the Messiah, even after witnessing miracle after miracle. This man of sacrifice served even with the knowledge that some of his closest followers would soon betray and deny Him.
No other King in history has given more and received less. But then again, He wasn’t just any other King…
And if that all wasn’t enough, in the midst of His serving, He carried the heavy weight of His imminent death. And He could have cried out, “Father, I’m done. The sacrifice is too great.”
But instead, he put Himself aside, and He humbly stooped down to wash the feet of sinners. Oh, friend, don’t let the repetition of this story or the simplicity of this act distract you from the profound mystery that is Christ. Instead of wallowing in the dark days which were upon Him or demanding recognition for saving the world, Jesus demonstrated that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). He would even kneel down and serve the very one who was about to hand Him over to be killed. That is unthinkable in human terms. It was far from a job fit for the King of Kings, but it was a profound example of how those of us who are in Christ should live our lives.
You see, in Christ, everything looks different.
Those sleepless nights, and those hard days when I’m just plain tired of the sacrifice? It all looks different because of Jesus. And with His strength, I can serve instead of seeking to be served. I can sacrifice even in the midst of suffering, and I don’t have to wait until I’m appreciated or in a good season to initiate love, encouragement, and generosity to others. I can humble myself and not expect earthly recognition, knowing that it is far better to treasure Christ.
Why does the Last Supper matter? Because it begs us to take our eyes off of ourselves, and to NEVER FORGET the willing sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me. And when we really remember deep down to our core, then we can say…
No sacrifice is too great.
Father, not my will, but Yours be done…
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
~ John 13:14-15
At His feet,