Would you ever wash someone’s feet in service to them? What about a stranger? Would you allow someone to wash your feet? I know these are random questions, however, I believe they are legitimate questions. I say that because it’s an act of service that Jesus modeled for us Himself. I find it somewhat disheartening that we don’t practice this simple, yet profound expression of service more often in our culture.
Now, there are many ways to serve people, I understand that. However, washing someone’s feet can be a powerful experience. This act is an expression of service and humility. I had the privilege of washing a child’s feet in Garbage City, Egypt earlier this year. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back; I say that because it was a very simple act of service, yet very powerful. In fact, one of the reasons it was so powerful to wash this child’s feet was because I didn’t know hardly anything about him. This one small act of service from a stranger conveyed to him that he is valued and loved.
Another reason the experience really hit home with me is because I have two boys. This boy was a couple years older than my oldest son. However, the life my children are living is much different than the life he is living. This child is living in a slum community where the garbage from Cairo is dumped. The living conditions in this community made it very difficult for me to visit. It breaks my heart to see these families trying to navigate through garbage and extreme poverty just to survive one more day.
This all happened when I was visiting a couple of workers from Stephen’s Children – the organization that Central partnered with during the Christmas offering to provide shoes for the kids of garbage city. One of the daily practices of this staff is to wash the children’s feet upon arrival. They focus on service in their community and lead by example.
This act is made all the more powerful because it takes place under a giant mural of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. As the staff washes the children’s feet each day, they look for infections, cuts, and other skin abrasions, after which they provide them with proper medical care. You see, many of the children of Garbage City don’t have proper foot protection, namely shoes. Many of them walk around barefoot in a community riddled with garbage, dead rats, and other hazardous materials. What’s worse, the garbage contains broken glass and sharp objects that cause serious injury and infection. These conditions make it imperative to wear shoes or other foot protection.
With last year’s Christmas offering, Central made it possible to help put shoes on the feet of over 13,000 children in Garbage City. Way to go Central! I love being a part of a church that not only focuses on serving our community locally, but also a community as far away as North Africa!