Obedience to Christ is the foundational principle that I as a follower of Christ must operate on if I call myself a disciple of Jesus. So I pay attention to the words of Jesus that are set in the context of the command. In a long line of verses that I could cite are the words of Jesus, one of the most interesting passages of Scripture, I think, is the command of Jesus in Mark 9:43
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.[c] 45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.” NIV
If your hand causes you to sin, is of course the qualifying phrase. Let me see, what do I do that might mean I’m guilty of sinning? I think it might be good if I didn’t publish that list here. I’ll just admit that my hand might need to be cut off. Would you be interested in attending the hand-cutting-off ceremony? I have a rather spectacular gathering in my imagination, and of course, I would be prepared to supply for inclusion in The Salvation Army’s ceremony book, but I digress.
Thankfully I understand that Jesus was being figurative in speech. It is a warning to us all that sin should be dealt with and not allowed to fester. So I’m aware that my great need is to listen and obey. As I listen I hear another phrase of Jesus and it has to do with the washing of feet. His words are from John 13:
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Here’s another literal command of Christ, which challenges me, not because it requires me to cut anything off, but because it requires me to sacrifice. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but most of us are into comfort, not sacrifice.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about this lately. I think it could be reworded in this manner: Now that I have blessed you, go bless others! What does it look like to bless others? I decided I should make a list. I could bless others by; encouraging others, helping my elderly neighbour shovel his snow, providing transportation to the doctor for someone who can’t drive, inviting a widow or widower for a meal in our home, buying a homeless man a meal in a restaurant, using my resources and time for others.
So that’s what I can do. But as I’ve been working this through in my own mind I have also thought about what I might not do! Selfishness seems rampant, so I could endeavor to be unselfish which most of the time is about blessing others. Blessing with words, with action, with intention seems to me to be about “washing one another’s feet”. So rather than cut my hand off, I think I will roll up my sleeves and get them wet! Let the washing begin.