Recently, we had a youth lesson based on the scripture of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet the night before his arrest. While there are a myriad of lessons to be taken away from this, that particular lesson focused on valuing other people. To go a step further, we talked about the fact that, if you truly value someone, you should serve them. And after telling them that valuing people leads to service, we had everyone wash each others’ feet.
It was a fantastic lesson. It was a perfect illustration of my hips don’t lie theory. But as we continued to hammer home the point that you will serve the people that you value, I could not help but to wonder if the opposite is true. Can serving people lead to valuing them?
I am a firm believer that your habits, while they often reflect your values, can dictate who you are. If you start smoking a lot, you become a smoker. If you start watching hockey and saying “eh” at the end of every sentence, you will eventually become a Canadian. So if valuing people is so closely related to serving people, wouldn’t it follow that serving someone would ultimately lead to placing value on them?
While it may seem like I am simply arguing semantics, think about the implications here. We all have people and groups that we have trouble relating to. There are folks out there that make us uncomfortable, and others that we just might not like.
What if we did something crazy and tried being nice to those people? What if we started using our time to serve them no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it felt? Then what if our service started breaking down the walls we have built to keep those people at a distance?
Hmmm…I believe we would have no choice but to gain some appreciation for them. If we really put our hearts into showing them love, wouldn’t it be cool if the love became real? What a concept. And if I’m wrong, what’s the worst that would happen? We would be showing people we don’t normally spend time with what the love of Christ looks like. Hallelujah.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)