Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-16
Years ago, I noticed a number of passages in the Bible which referred to things that we should do in relationship with others. I started marking passages in the margin of my bible with “o/a” which signified “one another”.
The passages mostly come from the New Testament where we are given guidance on how we are to live out our faith in community with others. The first four books of the New Testament emphasize our vertical relationship with God through Jesus.
The rest of the New Testament has a greater focus on the horizontal – how we live with each other, our family, friends and community. It makes an interesting study.
Here’s a partial list that I developed – both verses and content. I came up with over 30 of them. There may be more.
- Love one another. John 13:34-35, Galatians 5:14
- Wash one another’s feet. John 13:14
- Encourage one another. Hebrews 3:13, 10:24-25, 1 Thess. 5:11 and 4:18
- Pray for one another. James 5:16
- Build up one another. Romans 14:19, 1 Thess. 5:11
- Serve one another. Galatians 5:13
- Teach and admonish one another. Colossians 3:16
- Confess your sins to one another. James 5:16
- Don’t judge one another. Romans 14:13
- Carry one another’s burdens. Galatians 5:13
- Submit to one another. Ephesians 5:21
- Forgive one another. Colossians 4:13, Colossians 3:13
- Comfort one another. 2 Corinthians 6:12
- Do not provoke one another. Galatians 5:26
- Be kind to one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:15. 2 Corinthians 6:12
- Be kind and compassionate with one another. Ephesians 4:32
- Bear with and forgive one another. Colossians 3:13
- Spur one another on to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
- Do not slander one another. James 4:11
- Offer hospitality to one another. 1 Peter 4:9
This list of “one-anothers” is very practical. It amplifies how loving one another looks like. If you do all the things on this list to others, you have learned to love them in very practical ways.
But it’s a long list of “to do’s”. Jesus simplified the list with an overarching set of priorities. He made it simple for us. We are to first love God and then we should love one another. Simple. Straight forward.
To Jesus, you love one another by serving them. In John 13:12-17, Jesus gives this remarkable statement: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Love serves. Love does. It results in an action of serving others in a variety of ways. That’s how we “one another” – “one another”. We serve them.
So, how do you best serve others? That’s going to be different for every one of us. It depends on your gifts, your talents, your passions – how you are hard-wired, as it were.
God made each of us is different (my wife is glad of that). One of the roles of a mentor is to help the mentee to find his purpose in life – what God intended for that individual.
It takes time and patience for some of us to figure it out, but the mentor can aid the discussion by providing a sounding board and asking questions. It is not a science – it is more like art.
It takes time for the mentor to help the mentee figure out his strengths/weaknesses and his gifts and talents, and then help guide them towards figuring out the vision for their life. (Note: it is not the vision of the mentee, not the mentor, that is important.).
The challenge is, and has been for two millennia, to learn to love and serve one another. One role of serving that has dropped through the cracks of our culture in the past century is the role of mentor in others’ lives. It’s a way that you can serve the next generation.
If you have some gray hair, you need to realize that the next generation around you are looking for your input, but you may not have noticed. Take time today to invest in someone else’s life – to wash their feet, as it were, by your spending time with them and helping them become all that God wants them to be. That would be a good way to serve “one another”.
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: You can serve the next generation by coming alongside them. It’s not hard and certainly not complicated. It’s what Jesus did, and you can do it too.
WORSHIP: Listen to The Power of Your Name where the lyric goes “I will give with the life that I have been given, and go beyond religion to see the world be changed by the power of your name”
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