Who is in your circle? When I say circle, I mean the people in your life that you trust the most, that you consider to be “your people”, the ones closest to you. Are you a wife with a husband and kids? Are you a student in high school and your circle includes your parents, brothers and sisters, and then your best friends? Are you single but have a circle of colleges that you do life with?
Lately, I have been paying super close attention to the way that I treat the people in my life. I have looked at the way that I treat my husband, kids, and other family members. I have paid attention to how I treat friends. I have even paid attention to how I treat strangers. If I am being honest…I didn’t really like what I found. Maybe you can relate or maybe you can’t, but for me, it has been a huge awakening to me.
I have noticed…that I am an extremely patient person. I am a kind person. I am a person willing to do just about anything for anybody. If I just sat down at a table and someone needs something, I will gladly get them whatever it is that they need with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I will even add one more thing, and another (and another) on my to-do list if it means helping someone else out. I will even pile it on and become extremely overwhelmed if it means that someone else’s burdens are lifted off them. I am most of the time a person that I can be proud of because of the way I act towards others…unless those others are in my “inner circle.”
I am a patient person, unless my kids wait till I sit down with my hot dinner to ask for a drink. I am a kind person, unless my husband asks me to make his lunch for him when I am just as tired myself. I am willing to do just about anything for anyone type of person, unless that anyone lives with me and I have had just about enough with their attitudes in that day. I will add just about anything on my to do list to help someone out, unless that someone is my child or husband and I start to think to myself “if I add one more thing to my list then I will not have time for…me”. I am the kind of person I am proud of, and the kind of person I want to be, with those outside of my inner circle. Most of the time I will treat complete strangers better than those in my inner circle.
When I started to realize this, I started to think. Don’t I have the right to act this way? I mean these are the people closest to me. They are going to get the good, the bad, and the ugly. They are my family, so I feel the safest around them and that is why I can act this way towards them. But then I look at Jesus. He had an inner circle too. Jesus treated them with respect. He loved them. He taught them. Yeah, there was that one time that He told Peter to, “get behind Me satan” but who are we kidding, he needed that in his life.
I started to look at one of the most stressful times for Jesus but also happened to be one of the most intimate moments between him and the disciples (His inner circle). I started to look at the last supper. I am sure Jesus was tired. Yes, Jesus was human, and he got tired sometimes. I am sure he was stressed…we see this because of the way he prays in the garden before he was captured. Jesus could have focused all the attention on himself during the last super. He could have told the disciples, “Look guys I need a break, just a moment. I just need to sit here and eat and have some time for me. Can someone rub my shoulders? Can someone rub my feet? I mean I am about to sacrifice myself for you guys. Can you just treat me like it and serve me in this hour?” But that was not what Jesus did.
Jesus took off his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around his waist, and began washing the disciple’s feet (John 13: 1-17). “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist (VS 3-4). Jesus knew who he was. Jesus knew where he came from. Jesus knew where he was going, that he was returning to God. He could have made the disciples worship him in every way in this moment. Instead of being self-centered in the moment thinking “what about me”, Jesus laid aside all selfishness and served the disciples well. (He traded his title…for a towel…shout out Pastor Wesley…seriously still one of my favorite sermons ever).
Verse 1 states, “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus loved those closest to him until the very end. In one of his darkest moments he didn’t think selfishly. He loved his disciples well and told them in verse 14, “14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Jesus modeled something so humbling to us that we can apply to our ever day lives. He showed us how to “serve our circles well”. He taught us to love them…even on the hardest of days. You think you have it hard? Jesus knew in that very moment; all that Judas had planned. But do you think that he skipped Judas when he washed the disciple’s feet? I think not. Jesus truly showed one of the most humbling acts of service of all time. I know he is Jesus, but he commands us to do the same thing…if we are true disciples, followers, students of his word.
Stay humble. Stay patient. Stay in love. Serve your circle well.