Hands and Feet of Jesus
As previously mentioned in earlier blogs, during the month of May, I was given the opportunity to serve High School students at a Young Life Camp called Malibu, located in the inner depths and seclusion of British Columbia, Canada. Although I learned much from this camp including understanding the heart of Just Jesus, something that was also revealed to me was what it meant to truly serve with the authentic, raw, vulnerable, and difficult hands and feet of Jesus.
When we think about Jesus, for instance, and His service to the world, what are you reminded of? Him serving the masses with five loaves of bread and two fishes? Him healing the blind, sick, and bleeding? Him crying out to His Father to take away the cup but still abiding to His Will at all costs? Him spitting in the mud and rubbing dirt in a man’s eyes to give him sight? The list could go on and on, but one thing remains constant; the work of Jesus was not only also consistent, but it was hard. Think about it. Have you ever truly thought about what it meant to be a Disciple of Jesus? A servant of Jesus? To serve as Jesus? I know I thought I had, but that was until I served so physically demanding with my hands and feet that I realized I knew nothing.
Being assigned to work in the kitchen-bakery staff while serving my time at this particular Young Life Camp, I went into my job and this trip with the expectation that I would serve a lot, but I would also get to know others and enjoy a lot too. Hit in the head like a frying pan, however, you could say that Jesus really whacked me a good one in the field of service when I found out that not only was our work crew for the weekend highly understaffed and we would be overworked due to an overpopulation of students, but that instead of having 3 people to serve alongside of me in the bakery, I would be given 1, which would equivalate to spending 13 hours a day for three days in the kitchen. In addition, being an extrovert, it was extremely challenging for me to function while the other individual I was working with chose to engage with me very little for unknown reasons.
However, learning to make 27 desserts over a span of 3 days and serving the High School students through a behind the scenes bakery, really made me realize what it means to serve with the hands and feet of Jesus in all that you are doing. For example, although I was serving in the bakery, others at the camp were doing so through cooking food, setting tables, burning and organizing trash, cleaning dishes, doing laundry, and taking care of the land, all physically demanding jobs that offered a lot of service and very little benefit for yourself. Even realizing that the bakery job had one of the longest scheduled hours as opposed to those around me who were receiving breaks made me appreciate the experience of this Jesus moment even more. And why?
Because for the first time in my life, I served and worked so hard physically with my hands and feet (can you say hello, serving for 515 on every homemade pie, cookie, bread, cake, etc. we made from scratch and by hand) that I felt like I was giving God literally every single ounce I had left. I was serving like I imagined Him serving, and when I had nothing more to give, He pushed me further and provided in His way a true sense of peace and joy in just the opportunities and circumstances He saw fit. So, although no, I didn’t get to read or study the Bible much at all during the trip, I really felt like I was being refreshed and renewed through Him, for at the end of myself, I found Him. Him who would give an energy that though I was tired, would never leave my heart.
For you know what happens when you get tired? You are reminded of what it must have felt like to be Jesus, serving day after day, and night after night, constantly healing people, serving, and giving Himself away without any real long period of rest. But even Jesus, remember, when He got tired, weak, and weary, needed alone time with the Father because He would be the one to give Him a true source of strength for the next day. As Luke 5:12-16 reminds us, Jesus, too, despite the wear and tear of his hands and feet, needed time to recharge. After healing a man with leprosy, for instance, his Disciples and those surrounding Him didn’t understand His need for time alone:
“In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:12-16, NLT).
Here, the key is in verse 16, where the Scripture notes, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” and something within me can’t shake the notion that perhaps Jesus was praying on similar mountains as the ones now speaking to me and my heart while on this trip (Luke 5:16, NLT). That it wasn’t until he was so exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially that He went to the Father for renewal, because He knew that as a man he couldn’t take any more, but through and as Christ, He would someday soon take on the world in the full payment of nails through His hands and feet that once served it.
So, as I laid in my bed each night, just knowing that in a few short hours I would have to rise before the sun and work until the dawn, I started to cherish the opportunity, because I knew that at this moment, my strength was going to have to come from God alone. Although I didn’t get to read or pray like crazy for a week like I originally anticipated, I did experience a side of Jesus, perhaps the hands and feet of Jesus like I never had before. One that 100% gave everything of Himself away and didn’t question when the next day’s tasks were requested of Him. He was utterly dependent on the Father, and so am I now, as I am learning to be.
The hands and feet of Jesus man, that’s what got me through this crazy weekend, and what’s even crazier is realizing that Jesus felt as exhausted as I did for four days but that was every single day of His life for Him, and even then, He continued to push beyond even His own physicality’s.
Talk about the hands and feet of Jesus, my friend, because that’s where true servanthood was nailed to a cross for merely serving humanity as a lowly carpenter, in the same hands that healed the leper, and the same feet that climbed mountains just to make sure I was safe. Admittedly, I too will now climb those mountains for others, and even though the walk may be exhausting, I now know where my strength comes from; the hands and feet of Jesus man, the hands, and feet of a King.