Our message this past Sunday was on servanthood, and we looked at the example of Jesus when He washed His disciples feet. In the sermon, I told a story about my son-in-law washing my daughter’s feet as part of his marriage proposal to her at the ladies’ beach retreat. If you don’t mind a “re-run,” I wanted to share what I wrote about it in this space four years ago this week:
As you may have heard, my youngest daughter got herself betrothed this past Sunday afternoon, on the last afternoon of the ladies beach retreat in Panama City. There’s nothing like a romantic proposal on the beach to make all the ladies weepy and cap off an estrogen-laden weekend.
My future son-in-law had been planning the big day for more than a month, since we had our sit-down conversation the day before Easter. He made the drive down to Panama City on Sunday to surprise her, and had the help of the mother-of-the-bride-to-be, and a few of her accomplices, who participated in a ruse aimed at deceiving the unsuspecting proposée to get her to the right place at the right time on the beach.
There, he set up a chair on the edge of the surf, sat her down in it, and washed her feet. Then, he led her to drier ground, where he knelt before her, dried off her feet, and then presented her a ring and popped the question. (I think she said “Yes.”)
Our Shelby Crossings ladies, watching from across the beach, applauded, and apparently there were several bystanders on the beach who witnessed the whole event as well. One stranger video’d the proposal, which will probably show up on YouTube soon, while another came up immediately afterward to try to sell them on having their wedding at his beach venue nearby. A third couple was the most intriguing to me; they offered their congratulations, mentioned how special it was to be there for the proposal, but then asked about that thing he was doing to her feet. The two new fiancés were then able to explain.
In case that part of the story was foreign to you too, I will explain. The washing of the feet was a symbolic gesture of sevanthood, invoking the picture of what Jesus did for His disciples when He washed their feet (John 13). It is not a real common scene in today’s society–either the foot-washing, or the servanthood–but it was a wonderful expression of Christ-like love, and I pray it will serve as a solid foundation on which to build their upcoming marriage.
One thing is for certain, when we practice selfless service in our selfie-centered world, people take notice. They may not fully understand–they may even think we’re weird–but they will probably ask questions, which will open the doors for up to explain to them about the Jesus that we follow. He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
That’s our calling as well, whether in marriage or just in life in general: to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to love as He loved and to serve as He served, even when the world doesn’t always get it. I pray that each of our lives reflect the servant’s heart of our Master this week, as we serve Him by serving others.
I do hope you’ve had an opportunity to serve someone this week in the name of Jesus. I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.