Third World Thoughts – Cleaning Dishes

The story in the bible about Jesus washing feet is about servant hood. However it is kinda of outdated. No one washes each other’s feet here or in Canada. When we tell the story we constantly try to make washing feet somehow relevant. I’ve had my feet washed 3 times in the past at youth conventions or nights when youth pastors were trying to prove a point.

Maybe its time for a new analogy. For our culture, and even the culture here in Africa, I’m realizing that washing dishes would do the trick. Everyone has dishes at some point and they all need to be cleaned. You get your fingernails dirty and sometimes you miss out on the conversation. I don’t know a person in the world that isn’t happy when someone else washes their dishes for them. I know at theStory only a few people every get down behind the sink and scrub away. Men usually leave it to the women.

When you show up in Africa, you really want to make an impact. You want your skills to be used and you want to help out in the best way possible. Then you get here and you realize that most of your skills don’t transfer and you feel pretty useless most of the time. On top of that the last place you want to be is cleaning dishes. Anyone can clean dishes right? You didn’t fly all the way from your country to come here and clean dishes. It’s a waste of your time and money to just clean dishes.

Yet here is where I think we are called. To come here and clean dishes. To do those little things that we don’t think are good enough for us.

Hands at Work is an interesting organization. They spend all their time and effort supporting local people serving their community. They don’t walk in and step on toes and take over programs and hire more white people for all their good ideas. Instead they see what God is already up to with the people that already live here and then they support them however they can. They wash their dishes, clean their feet, serve the locals so they are supported.

This is the beauty of our mission. It isn’t complicated. Those that don’t think they have anything to offer are wrong. Serving really is simple, but be prepared to feel useless and not be noticed for it. It is in this kind of service that your work will go the furthest in the kingdom.

2 Comments

  • Does this mean that you are washing the dishes after the big thanksgiving dinner……..yahoo!!

    I’ve been enjoying your blog Nathan…….what a different perspective it gives you

  • Why don’t you just buy them a dishwasher? That way the dishes can be done all the time!!!
    Geez, that was easy.

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