The Greatest in God’s Kingdom

Washing feet

 

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded… When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:3-17 RSVA)

I just read a blog posted by a sister that has been learning what true greatness is in the kingdom of Heaven… Not what you might think! It is cleaning toilets and scrubbing floors. Yes, learning that the greatest in the Father’s kingdom will be the slave of all (Mark 10:43-46 RSV), THIS is true leadership… leading by Christ’s example, not that of Church hierarchy today. God has done the same thing in my life, made me a willing servant to all, but where it really shows up (or not) is in my own home, serving the one who knows me best, my wife.

God started me out serving my brothers and sister by fixing broken toilets and replacing the old nasty ones with new ones and roto-rooting out sewer pipes for months on end as part of a street ministry to hippie kids that got saved and were being put-up in old broken down houses that needed a lot of fixing (my job). I was not paid a thing other than the wonderful experience of being around God’s kids and being loved by them. Mind you, before God changed my heart I was a red-neck hippie hater, but He chose THIS way to work Christ deep into me (he chooses the foolish things to confound the wise and the week to confound the mighty. I did this kind work among these people for over six years in the early ’70′s).

Many years later my wife and I were serving in a church as the janitors and during a crowded “worship conference” they put on, some guy went in the men’s room and did a big nasty in the toilet and plugged it up and then flushed it twice more for good measure so that the brown chunks were floating over the bowl and out of the bathroom and down the hall toward the auditorium. The pastor came and grabbed me and said, “Here! Clean that up!” Well, I started in on mopping it up and wringing the mop out by hand in a bucket and got it beat back into the bathroom when I stopped, heart broken, and said to my wife who was standing guard to keep people from walking in it, “Dot, I was doing this same thing over twenty years ago! Nothing has changed!” To this she replied, “Oh, yes it has! YOU have changed!” Right then the presence of the Lord came down over me like I was standing under a waterfall of love! It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

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20 comments on “The Greatest in God’s Kingdom

  1. Pat Orr says:

    I admire what you have victoriously walked through. The good fruit is manifest in your writings. I pray that the Lord give all of us fruit that will remain.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brenda says:

    Praise the Lord! We have to follow the Master’s example. And thank Him for your dear wife, who was given just the right word for you that day!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow!! What a great testimony, Michael! 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Love,
    Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scarlett says:

    When I read this, first of all, I was very grateful that you shared this with us. How many of the “great leaders of today” would admit to such a humbling experience? The next thing that came to mind was, “Lord, please remind us to clean up our own messes, and not expect someone else to do it”. Could be any kind of a “big nasty”, not just one like this, hopefully.
    Finally, it does take awhile to learn that when we “signed up” with Jesus, we no longer have any “rights” to do as we please. We only have responsibilities to obey and follow the example of the meek and lowly one, our King.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Scarlett, like my dad said about the army he served in, “There was a lot of things they never told me when I signed on with this outfit.” When I came to Christ I had it in my mind that a “successful Christian” would become a Billy Graham or someone great before the eyes of men, for this world’s idea of “greatness” was all I had ever seen. What a surprise it was for me to find out in the kingdom of God, the way up was the way down, not seeking the chief seats in the synagogues, but rather taking the lowest places and preferring all others before our selves as a loving servant. THIS is what Jesus did all 33 years of His earthly life and what He is still doing today as our High Priest who is familiar with all our weakness and temptations as our Advocate before the Father. There is no higher calling than that of washing one another’s feet out of love in whatever form that need arises.

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  5. “THIS is true leadership…”

    And this is truth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mia says:

    Dearest Michael
    For a very long time in my life, I tried to do all these menial things for others and then…, being disappointed that they did not thank me or take a bit of notice! Oh, my left hand kept good score of what my right hand was doing and visa versa. I thrived on that feeling of security, albeit false! When I became so ill ten years ago, I learned the hard way that all the time I did these menial things, I actually only served my compulsion to earn love and acceptance from others and especially our Pappa’s love. Truth is, that I DID NOT serve them with the grace of our Lord, I actually tried very hard to do the so called good works. I am just so thankful that Pappa has lead out of this Egypt.
    Lots of love
    Mia

    Liked by 2 people

    • wayne roper says:

      Mia- good testimony. i think most of us have been caught in that at one time or another, the sad thing is alot of people never see where they are . i heard a brother share one time we can’t move on until we own where we are at . so thankful the Lord revealed that to you and maybe by your testimony others will ask the Lord what is the heart motive behind what they are doing ~ wayne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Mia. I think the important thing here is that our Father provides the trials we need to break us down, not only dealing with our pride and self seeking ways, but to bring us to a place where we gladly serve Him and His people out of HIS love as truly humble servants just as His Son still does to this day, standing before Poppa ever making intercession for us as the Son of Man. “What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:3-8 CEV)

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  7. wayne roper says:

    Michael – a good place to grow – dung makes good fertilizer. 🙂 powerful word from the Lord from your wife ~ wayne

    Liked by 2 people

  8. wayne roper says:

    Michael – i got one of those keepers too the Lord knows what us guys need

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Wayne, He sure does. He knows what kind of wives we need. I know a brother that is a hard-headed Pole and his wife is even harder. It is painful to watch and take when I go over to see him and she calls him “the dumb Pollock.” But you know what? This brother is growing leaps and bounds in Christ and I can see the good (God) changes coming over him daily. Some of us marry our crosses and THAT is a blessing, too.

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  9. kenneth dawson says:

    yes actions speaks louder than words.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Deborah says:

    That is so wonderful! Your wife is a true gift from God! Thank-you for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Michael says:

    Hey, all you precious people!!! Thanks so much for your wonderful comments. I made sure my dear wife, Dorothy, read them too! Yes, she is a real gem and gift from God.

    It is quite an education to be trained by God as a loving Father who chastises His sons as they need it. The fact of the matter is, I had my sights on becoming someone great in Christendom when He apprehended me. I took the same goals I had while in the world and carried them right on over into my Christian walk. I think many of us do that not knowing any better. The disciples were still arguing over who would sit on each side of Jesus’ throne when He set up His kingdom here on earth right up unto the very end as He was about to go to the cross. They just didn’t get it!

    But the Lord has a cure for those who would be great in His kingdom, He makes them lowly servants and slaves of all the rest. Once I saw this, I understood the why of so many things I have had to go through in this life. I am so grateful that He loved me so much that He never let me go to seminary or Bible school and get a degree and rise up into a pulpit ministry. I am sure He would have lost me if He had.

    And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:38-39 KJ2000)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Only a true child embraces his Father’s discipline. More and more I am convinced that is the best we can bring Him: willing hearts, ready to be changed, shaped, challenged, and trained in whatever way He sees fit. I love getting a glimpse into your heart (including the struggle to submit to the process and the victory Christ has won through it). Thanks for your sincere words of affirmation for me as I walk this messy path, too. It’s good to walk the ups and downs in community, and you are a brilliant cheerleader!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Michael says:

    Tiffany, Thanks so much for your loving reply, my sister. I remember how shocked I was, after having a honeymoon with Jesus that lasted for eight months, to find out that it was over! All of a sudden I had these trials I was going through! I had no clue that God not only loved me the way I was, but He also loved me too much to leave me that way. So, I did some reading to find out what was going on and found that place in Hebrews that said if He didn’t chastise me when I needed it I was not a child of His, but was illegitimate. I then endured the trials for a season and knew that God had my best in mind and loved me. Well, next I entered another season when the trials ceased for a while. Now I became concerned that I was no longer His son! I missed His loving hand on my “spiritual bottom!”

    Yes, my sister, it is good to walk these things out together and share our experiences and I am so happy to have met you, but I never thought myself cute enough to be called a “cheerleader!” 🙂

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