Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
A devotional by Karen Marstaller
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
–Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
At our favorite pancake house, one of the waitresses is in much demand.
Her station is always full. She moves easily from table to table, taking orders, dispensing coffee, and paying close attention to her customers. We love it when we’re seated in her section because she remembers we are the “with lemon, no ice” and “with ice, no lemon” couple. How she does it, I’ll never know.
There’s another reason why we enjoy eating at her table. Even though she’s been working there for a long time, she always greets us with warmth, and then waits on us as though she’s been waiting all her life to serve us. Another cup of coffee? Coming right up. A spilled glass of juice? Not a problem.
The restaurant is located near the city’s hospital district, so many of her customers are either out-patients, relatives visiting loved ones receiving care, or people waiting to hear what their doctor has to say. She is sensitive to each one and takes time in her constant hurry to speak to them, to listen to their stories, and to encourage them. People rarely leave her station as dejected as they were when they arrived, and on each ticket, she signs her name and puts a little smiley face beside it, thanking them for their patronage.
In the verse from Colossians above, the word “heartily” is used. In this connotation, the word means joyful exuberance. That’s what our waitress exhibits, even when she’s working short-handed and is in a rush. Her customers appreciate her kindness and her service, and many times they become part of the regular crowd that flocks to her.
Jesus was like that. Patiently and tirelessly, He walked the Judean hillsides and the countries surrounding them, meeting every need. Five thousand people are hungry? Bring Me what you have, and I’ll feed them. Terrified disciples on a little boat in a violent storm? Don’t worry. I’ve got this. Huge crowds of people all around Him, and yet He knew when one woman touched the hem of His garment and was healed. None of it was a disruption or a problem for Jesus. He went on each path with a single purpose—to serve each person with care and dignity. And with love.
Jesus kept moving along His earthly path, placing His hands on little children in blessing, touching a leper and making him clean, restoring sight to the blind, and even raising the dead to life. Always, wherever He went He reasoned with the religious leaders who couldn’t fathom Who He was—and still is today—the Son of God and the Son of Man. As Jesus walked through the Promised Land, He deliberately moved closer to Jerusalem, and to His death on a cross.
On the night before He was crucified, Jesus washed the dirty, sweaty feet of His twelve disciples. Kneeling before each man, the Lord Jesus Christ tenderly bathed and dried each foot. He had been waiting all their lives to show them how much He loved them, and He gave them a vivid portrayal of His love in action.
Then He sat down and taught them another lesson they needed to learn. He taught about servanthood. He told them, “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” (John 13:14-15 ESV).
His message is still resonating in the hearts of all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, even in our world today. Now we serve the risen Lord Jesus, and we want to do our work heartily, as for our Lord. You need a piano player? It would be a pleasure. You want me to teach the little kids a Bible story? Sure, which one? You want me to feed the hungry? I’ll bring a bag of groceries and a ladle.
Sometimes our work for the Lord takes us to humble places, to hurting people, or to the sick and dying. With each job He gives us, we rejoice in becoming a visible representative of Jesus’ love. We become an extension of the hands and feet of Jesus. And in doing so, we fulfill His purpose for us—to wash each other’s feet in joyful exuberance.
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the privilege of serving You. We ask for Your strength to sustain us, and for Your love to fill us. Please give us Your humility to serve others as You showed us. We praise You, the Lord of Heaven and Earth. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers.
She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.
Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.
Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.
You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org