When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
The picture of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples in the Gospel of John is the most beautiful expression of servanthood. Leadership and management seminars alike, teach this successful model of leadership: leading by serving or leading by example. Many of us oftentimes seek to discover what is the best way we can serve and show our love for God and for others.
Try giving shoes to orphans…
Shoe missions exemplify Christ’s servanthood and, I believe, this is the reason why volunteers choose to go year after year on a CERI shoe mission. Imagine sitting in a chair or kneeling in front of a child who desperately needs shoes to protect his feet from frostbite. You remove both his shoes and socks and hold his bare, cold, wet feet in your hands. In that moment, you are Jesus to that child. You give yourself to God by serving that child.
Over the years, CERI teams have tried doing this in many different ways. On one occasion, we have used rubber gloves because orphans’ feet were so dirty. On another occasion, we have used talcum powder to dry their wet feet and slip on the new socks easier. And on a different occasion we even tried washing the particularly dirty and smelly feet. But what worked best is their feet in our hands. And nothing else. This personal touch that says “I love you” without words.
All our shoe mission heroes share God’s love. With or without words. By giving and going. By blessing and being blessed.
Executive Director, Emeritus