My Bible Study girls talked about towels this week. I set a stack of towels on the table and asked them to share ways to use a bathroom towel. Here’s part of their list:
1. Dry off after a shower.
2. Wrap your hair in a towel.
3. Dry off the dog’s feet when he comes in from outside.
4. Lay a towel on a sofa, chair or car seat for a pet to sit on.
5. Wipe up a large amount of spilled water or coffee or . . . .
6. Wring excess water out of stockings or hand-washed sweater.
7. Lay a sweater on top of a towel to dry.
8. Place on top of a knitted item on ironing board as a barrier or cushion.
9. Use as a headpiece if you are asked to play Mary in the Christmas pageant.
10. Wrap around a casserole you are taking to a potluck.
11. Use as batting for a craft project as an inner layer of thickness.
12. Wipe excess moisture after you wash your car.
13. Repurpose by cutting into strips and braiding to make a braided rug.
14. Create towel art—fashion into swans and hearts and—okay, I did tell them to get creative.
15. Never throw out a towel. You might need it as a rag.
In the British sci-fi satire, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the characters often talk about their towel. (I had to have my husband explain this to me.) You always keep your towel handy because you never know when you might need a towel.
Jesus found a good use for a towel. He used one to wash the feet of His disciples.
In Jesus’ day, that’s probably the most common use for a towel. Washing feet was a very necessary job. Dirt roads, no Nikes, no cars. Hospitality was very important. The lady of the house probably said, “You’re not messing up my floor with those feet.” People reclined at meals which meant my feet might be in your face.
So the King of Kings took on the garb of a servant and did what no one else seemed compelled to do. Max Lucado, in his book, Grace, tells how Jesus showed no partiality in whose feet He chose to wash. Good ole Andrew? Sure. Foot-in-mouth Peter? No hesitation. Explosive James and John? Yep. Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot? Them too. Judas? Even Judas. Jesus, being fully divine, knew ahead of time what Judas had up his sleeve—or what how many pieces of silver he would soon have up that sleeve. Jesus washed his feet too.
Dottie Rambo penned the words to a beautiful song. The title says it all.
“He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.”
Foot washing isn’t as much of a need today. It doesn’t mean as much to us except in the symbolic sense. Yet Jesus said that as He has done for us, so we should do furthers. If we are to follow Jesus’ example of humbling ourselves to meet needs regardless of how unsavory the task or person’s behavior might be what would be our 21st century equivalent of washing feet?
1. Serve coffee to grouchy nursing home residents.
2. Wash dishes for an overwhelmed spouse of a terminally ill friend.
3. Pick up and dispose of the messes the neighbor’s dog leaves in our yard without comment.
4. Clean up vomit.
5. Hold the head and speak words of comfort to someone inured in a car accident.
6. Pray with someone over the phone whose relative is headed for open heart surgery.
7. Mow the lawn of someone who just got home from the hospital.
8. Shovel snow from the sidewalk of a church member who is due to come home from Florida the next day.
9. Wave to an elderly neighbor each day as a reminder that someone is looking out for her.
10. Buy breakfast for a homeless person and stop long enough to pray with them.
Can you add to either of my lists? What can you do with a towel? What’s your modern day equivalent of washing feet?