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But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26-28
Picture Jesus stooping down to wash the mud-caked feet of the disciples; a job usually reserved for the lowest servant in the household. Jesus, present as the first man was formed from the dust of the earth and thereafter present in the confines of human flesh, bowed the knee with a humble heart to serve His servants. The Savior did not stop when He had dried the last washed toe of his beloved disciples. Instead, as He completed the job, He rose and said:
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 just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. ~John 13:14-17
What is one act of service in your home that you least look forward to? Mine? Laundry. The bending to retrieve and wash seems more like a burden than a blessing… that is, until recently.
While reading, True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia by Jerry Bridges, I came upon the chapter entitled, The Fellowship of Serving. This one chapter, aimed more toward serving the body of Christ and less as a minister of the home, changed my perspective and transformed my view toward the mundane task of laundry.
What reason do I have to complain about the dirty clothes in my house, when the Creator of the universe stooped to wash His disciples’ feet?
My purple plastic laundry hamper is one of the few artifacts to have survived college dorm-life and eleven years of marriage. I vividly remember packing my laundry basket to overflowing and then making the long trek to the dormitory laundromat at Auburn University. On weekends home, dirty laundry would find its way into my Corolla and magically mom would make clean, nicely folded laundry appear.
Today, my mom lives 500 miles away, and I don’t pack dirty laundry to take on visits. However, rest assured that in addition to feeding and oftentimes bathing our three little ones, Nana continues to wash clothes for our family of five as a ministry to us on visits.
Clean laundry ministers to our families.
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We do not need to wait until our children are college-aged to view laundry as a gift of service. With each shirt washed and each pair of underwear folded, we serve Christ. You and I can make laundry an act of worship if we purpose in our hearts to do so.
Laundry does not have to be a dirty word!
We women innately possess the Eve gene: that one which says we are missing out on a bigger mission, more, having it “all.” When the forbidden fruit was within Eve’s grasp but had not yet touched her tongue, she already possessed that which we all long for: true intimacy with God and man... and no laundry!
In our age of entitlement and pampering, it is foreign to remember that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. How very extraordinary that Jesus took on human flesh, donned in the poorest garments of His time, so that the Savior could be the servant and the served become the saved. We are to follow the example of Christ, and therefore we are to view ourselves as servants. Christ endured for the joy set before him. Think on the joy that is set before us and our families when we view laundry as a ministry and serve with the heart of the Savior.
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Brooke Cooney is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and foster-mom of one. To capture the eternal in the everyday, she blogs about family, faith, and lessons along the journey at ThisTemporaryHome.com.