Some weeks are longer than others. Not objectively of course, they all have 7 days. 168 hours, so many minutes and so on, but some weeks feel longer, just so much happens.
When you are pastoring – also when you are in travelling ministry too, but it hits apostles and pastors more – you have to deal with mud. You have to sit with people who are broken, who are angry with you for no real reason, who are angry at God but want to take it out on you because they are too carnal to see God, other people are being abused and hurt by others and you have to walk with them in their grief and pain. Mud sticks, and often you can end a day feeling really grubby.
Some things are just great about pastoring. Days in which I am preparing a sermon, sometimes spending 10 to 12 hours in the Word, chewing on it, thinking about it, dreaming how it will set people free. Days like that I cannot sleep almost with excitement in Jesus.
Then there are days where it is just trudging through mud. But the good news for me and for you is that Jesus Christ is still the same and He still washes the feet of apostles today!
Peter was initially upset about Jesus touching the mud. You are too good for mud, Jesus, I will deal with this myself. I’ve been there, I’d rather talk to Jesus about the Word and praise His name. But Jesus told Peter that if he avoided having his feet washed that: thou hast no part with me. I don’t want to life and minister with no part of Jesus, so I need to let Him wash the mud off my feet.
Peter’s second response as he realizes how important this feet washing is, is to ask Jesus to wash all of him. But not all of him was dirty, only his feet, only where he had made contact with the dirt of the world. Sometimes after a muddy day, it feels like we are dirty all over, that we need to be born again, that we need to go and become monks. But that’s not true, it’s just our feet.
How does Jesus wash Peter’s feet? In two ways, firstly He comes to serve, to help, to minister. He takes the lower place. At the end of a long day, I want to serve Jesus and praise Jesus and exalt Jesus, but He wants first to wash that mud off our feet. We can tell Him about anything. We can tell Him how we feel about what we have gone through, we can be open about how unfair we feel things have been. Mud won’t kill Jesus. Let Him wash your feet today.
Secondly, Jesus washes your feet by bringing water to the mud. Water is a symbol of God’s Word. You might say to Jesus, this person was gossiping about me, this person was so rude today, Lord. The people are impossible to please. That person has been to Bible school, why haven’t they learned that?
That is you sharing the mud with Jesus, but just sharing mud will make you both muddy, you have to then let Jesus share water with you. You let him say “Don’t hold it against them Ben, they don’t know what they are doing, all humans miss it, don’t take it personally, roll all the cares of that onto me, Son, I’ve got this.”
As Jesus starts to work His washing on you, that water refreshes you and washes the feet and the mud comes off you, then you stand up clean, and start to worship and praise.
You know sweat isn’t what makes someone smell, its stale sweat. Sweat that should have been washed off. You can pastor with muddy feet, but as soon as you get a chance, share the mud with Jesus and let Him share the water with you, because you will not be able to pastor long with stale mud.
Some of you need to do this now. It’s urgent, so do it. Selah.