ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dusty Feet: The Heart of a Servant

Updated on October 5, 2014
GodTalk profile image

I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.


Foot Washing and Servanthood

In the days of Jesus, people wore sandals. And in their journeys, feet became dusty and dirty. You couldn't walk on the streets or in the mountains or valleys without your feet needing to be bathed. It was for that reason that it was common courtesy for a host to provide a servant to his house guests who would wash their feet.

And on such an occasion our Lord gave one of His most impressive lessons to His disciples, and to us who read of it 2000 years later. He took upon Himself the role of servant and washed the feet of His followers. In this passage, found in John 13, He took the basin and the towel and demonstrated what he wanted them to do to each other and all that they encountered. After doing this most humble of acts he said this:

"If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one anothers feet" (John 13:14).

But this wasn't the first time Jesus showed a servant heart. Our Lord, in coming to earth to die for our sins, displayed the ultimate act of servanthood. (Philippians 2:1-11), He showed us that the way to greatness is by being servant of all (Mark 10:44). But His Apostles, like us today, needed to be reminded. For Him it was a natural thing to do. We, however, have to be taught. And this illustration that Jesus gave that day was a physical demonstration of how we are to behave. The two eternal things in this world that we live in are God and our fellow human beings, created in His image. And we show our love for God by the way we serve our fellow men.

I. The Servant's Feet

When talking about Jesus' servant heart, we can't help but realize that he wasn't afraid to get His own feet dirty going out into the highways and byways of life. He often associated with those who would not be considered "worthy" by many in society. An example of this is found in the book of Mark chapter 2:

13 "And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eats and drinks with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

The type of people Jesus spent time with, we tend to shun today as well. I'm wondering if we would make them feel comfortable if they darkened the doors of our churches . But the honest truth is that most won't come to our Sunday services. We have to get our own feet dirty and go to them.

II. God's Servant: William Booth

William Booth (1829-1912), the founder of the Salvation Army, is a good example of what Jesus taught his disciples. He and his wife Catherine displayed servants hearts with dusty feet. And by the year 2005 the Salvation Army was in 111 countries, working with those who were most needy.

William Booth is quoted as saying of the organization that he created: "It was for the wife beaters, cheats and bullies, boys who had stolen the family food money, unfaithful husbands, burglars and teamsters who had been cruel to their horses."

He and his wife started the Army to go into the inner cities with compassion and caring for the least in society. And they daily left the security of their own home to go out and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those in the streets of the world's greatest cities. Booth had a well known saying that he was famous for: "Go for souls, and go for the worst."

C.H. Spurgeon once said that: "If the Salvation Army were wiped out of London, five thousand extra policemen could not fill it's place in the repression of crime and disorder."

It had and continues to have, to this day, a profound affect on our world for Christ.

II. Every Day Examples

One modern day example of going out into the world Jesus loved is right in front of most of us as we drive to work, school or church. With today's economy, there seems to be an over abundance on the streets of most American cities those people who have signs saying something like: "Homeless, and hungry. Will work for food." While I realize that there are some scam artists out there, I can't help but think that many of them are legitimate. We must ask ourselves: "What would Jesus do?"
Maybe we can offer to give them work around our house for food, or a few dollars. And maybe we can actually make an offer to buy them a meal at a restaurant.

But we may not have to go to the streets. We might just be able to walk across the street of our home and simply meet our next door neighbor. It is interesting how few people even know the families that live in their very own neighborhood, let alone have any idea of their needs. We have to stop being afraid of reaching out to them and start getting involved in their lives. Let us not miss an opportunity to be like our Lord.

Part of the problem with the Church of Jesus Christ today is that our feet are too clean. We sit in our comfortable homes and varnished pews and wait for the world to come to us. And then we ask them to be dressed in their Sunday best and to look, think and act like we do. If they have an odor, have dirty clothes, or don't talk like they have at least a high school education, we tend to treat them differently than everyone else.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was and is a servant leader who was not afraid to allow Himself to interact with the world He came to save. He didn't become a part of it. He was in the world, but not of it. He calls us to do the same. Let us not be afraid to go out and emulate His example. May we all be accused of having dusty feet.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      You're welcome MsDora. And thanks for stopping by.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      GodTalk, you're loud and clear. Being comfortable among those whom we consider clean provides no opportunity for service. We need to look again at the example of Jesus. Thank you for this powerful reminder.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks sheilamyers for stopping by. You are right. Every time we walk out the door, there is a potential for ministry. We just need to be open to the Lord's leading throughout the day. God bless!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a great reminder of what part of our "job" as Christians is to be. I can't say I intentionally walk out my door to perform service, but I do it whenever the opportunity presents itself and that happens almost anytime we leave our house. God can and will use us wherever we go. All we have to do is open our eyes to the opportunities he lays in our path.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you Bill. I appreciate your kind words. And may the Lord continue to bless your ministry for Him.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Your conclusion alone was powerful. The line, "We have to stop being afraid of reaching out to them and start getting involved in their lives" says so much. Thanks Jeff, for a thought provoking hub that must be acted upon. Voted up! and shared.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)