I've been studying the Gospel of John for the past several weeks. There's recurring theme that seems to be sticking to my heart. It's having a handmaiden's heart, a heart of service.
Having a servant's heart had been floating around for several chapters. Last week I got to John 13, and there it was glaring at me. Do you recall that Jesus washed the disciples' feet? ALL of the disciples, even the betrayer. How could He do that? I have a hard time thinking about washing anybody's feet (except my granddaughters'.)
Daddy grew up in a Primitive Baptist church where they practiced foot-washing. It's no surprise when Granddaddy got sick in later years, Daddy didn't hesitate to wash those tired and worn feet. Mama took a picture of them that I kept for years. Even though I gave it to my oldest nephew a while back, it's etched within me.
But Jesus admonished us to do the same for everyone, even the ones who don't seem to deserve it. That's a pretty tall order. As much as I long to echo Mary's response to the Angel Gabriel ("Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38), sometimes I just don't seem to be able to.
Christopher Reeve was only a gorgeous leading man for a few short years. Following his riding accident, he developed a "handmaiden's heart". He spent the rest of his life trying to serve others, not just the powerful and beautiful.
Do we limit those we serve? Is it call of duty, like medical professionals? Only those we are devoted to? Or do we equally embrace the unlovable, the dirty, the broken? Dear Reader, I wish I could say I always do. Maybe that's why the Lord's been whispering to me about having and showing a handmaiden's heart.
I'm pretty sure I'm not called to the Congo. But, I do believe we all have a call. To where and to whom will it take us? I cannot be brave alone. Will you join me in listening carefully and looking intently for opportunities to serve?