Washing Wheels

  • July 12, 2016
  • #8922

Serving others is a way to experience humility grace, by imitating the example of Jesus when he washed the disciples’ feet.

Washing Wheels

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story about my dirty wheelchair.

The last time we met, I told you how I like wipe my wheels before entering someone’s home, a little like you wipe your feet on the doormat if there’s rain or mud? Well, I do the same when it’s muddy. Except with me, it’s wiping my wheels.

Like not long ago, Ken and I invited two couples from out of town over for a backyard dinner. Now we really did it up right: There was candlelight, music, dining under the stars. It was going to be great. Ken had set the tables out on the back lawn, even though it had sprinkled lightly earlier in the day. Well, it was enough wheeling over the wet grass, but in order to situate my legs under the table, I had to wheel back and forth, like doing a three-point turn over damp sod. It took a minute or two of moving this way and that, but finally I was able to get underneath the table. After Ken put my napkin on my lap, I glanced down and, “Oh, my goodness,” I groaned. Chunks of thick mud, and grass, and little pebbles and dirt were thickly wedged between the tread in my tires. My heart sank. All I could think about was what it would do to my brand new cream-colored carpet when I would go back inside my house.

But after dinner and without any prompting from me, the two men we were dining with, left their wives at our table and ran inside to get a pail of hot water. Right there in front of the sliding glass door into my house, they poured hot water over my dirty tires, got down on their knees and they began scrubbing with a dish brush, and picking away mud with a knife. I felt embarrassed that our wonderful dinner guests were on their hands and knees, getting dirty and wet themselves, and when I tried to apologize, one of the fellows leaned back and laughed and said, “Hey, what we’re doing is very biblical. When Jesus told us to wash each other’s feet, I’m sure he meant your wheels, too!”

Immediately, right there in the backyard, I sensed an outpouring of God’s humility and grace: Humility in seeing our honored visitors on their hands and knees, and grace in that these men had a chance to jump in and follow the Savior’s example from John chapter 13. If Jesus could get on his hands and knees to wash the disciples’ feet, even the feet of the one who would betray him, who was I to protest these two men in imitating the Lord?

I learned two things that night. Nothing works better than hot water for getting mud off anything; plus, I learned that sometimes it’s a grace-filled, humbling thing to have others help you get clean. Look, friend, there are people all around you who have needs, and God has placed them in your midst so that you can meet those needs. It could be someone like me with a disability. So, today would you find a unique and unusual way to “wash the feet” of a friend, a coworker or a neighbor in need. When you serve, you’ll experience both humility and grace, and you’ll be following the example of our wonderful Savior.

And by the way, if that friend or neighbor that you help has a disability, I’d like to give you a special gift you can pass on to him. It’s called God's Word on Disability and it’s filled with Christ-centered encouragement. You can get your free copy by going to joniandfriends.org/radio. Also, I have another fun idea. If you end up serving by cleaning someone’s wheelchair, join the party and Instagram a photo of that clean, shiny wheelchair with the #BeautifulWheelchair. Again, Instagram your photo with #BeautifulWheelchair.

Photo: News9.com

© Joni and Friends

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