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“He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. … [He] began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … Peter said to him, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ ‘If I do not wash you, you have no share with me’ ” (John 13:4-5, 8, ESV).

Discipleship is an oft-discussed topic and the focus of countless seminars and books, but I found that I was not alone when I struggled with the question of how to live as a true disciple. We know the definition of the term “disciple”: someone who is a student of a particular master; someone who is not only a learner, but also an adherent. But the deeper meaning often eludes us, and we question how to live out what we know. I found my answer in a pair of boots.

A couple of summers ago, I was asked to be the leader of a group of girls going to camp. So I packed up my boots and headed out. About the third day of camp I noticed that my boots were no longer brown, but dusty gray. The girls noticed the change, too. When I walked into our cabin, they grabbed their towels, dropped to their knees, and began to clean my grime-encrusted boots.

My immediate response to their cleaning my boots was, “No, please don’t!” But the Lord quieted me with this instruction: “Allow me to serve you.”

I realized something very important that day. God’s view of discipleship is not primarily what we can do for Him, but rather what He can do for us. Up to that point, my main focus had been on service and duties. I equated that focus with discipleship, and I was becoming little more than a doer. I had become so busy “doing” that I had forgotten about “being.”

We must never forget that the call to discipleship is, first of all, a call to being His. And that includes allowing Him to wash our feet. The account in John 13 demonstrates that God’s desire and purpose for all of us is to be intimate with Him, for even Judas’ feet were cleaned.

I pray that, amid the day-to-day busyness of 2014, we won’t allow our work—even kingdom work—to take precedence over being with the Lord.  

By: Ashley Thompson, Foursquare credentialed minister and receptionist for the National Church Office and Foursquare Missions International

is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.