The Everyday Business of Dirty Feet

The Israelites were journeying through the wilderness. Things weren’t happening the way they thought they should, or as fast as they wanted. Instead of looking toward their destination, they looked around at their circumstances and became impatient, depressed and discouraged. They began to complain against God and Moses.

Their complaining had immediate consequences. “The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people; and they bit the people, and many Israelites died.”  The Lord sent them an antivenom, though. He had Moses put a bronze serpent up on a pole, “…and if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of bronze, he lived.”

Now, it wasn’t just a casual glance that saved and healed them…it was when they looked “attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze” that they recovered.     – From Numbers 21, The Amplified Bible.

In John, chapter 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that this is a clear reference to himself. He also would be lifted up (on a cross), and those who look to him, believe in him, cleave to him, trust in and rely on him, will not perish, but have eternal life.

Sometimes we put our eyes on our circumstances, on the daily stuff around us. Dwelling and focusing on our trials, troubles and symptoms brings confusion, destruction and death. We have to cast our vision higher, cast our gaze further than our immediate situation.

Let’s say you share a house with five (or fifty) other people. One day you look at one of them and notice that his feet are dirty. “Ewwww…” you think, “I hate dirty feet!” Then after awhile you notice that someone else has dirty feet. “Aaaggghhh! More dirty feet!” It seems like all you see now are dirty feet!

Soon you are focusing all your energy on all those dirty feet and how much you hate dirty feet. Now, dirty feet are not a good thing. If your feet are filthy and you get a cut, chances are it will get some raging infection. It might make you sick. If you don’t take care of it, it might even get serious enough to kill you.

But when your feet are clean and you get a cut, it might hurt, but it will probably not get infected. You will probably not get sick or die. Being clean just makes you feel better. It even makes you sleep better, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing…everybody gets dirty feet sometimes. You can’t make someone else wash their feet. But you do know how to keep your own feet clean.

The spiritual application here is that we can’t focus on the dirty feet around us. Don’t focus on the negative. Keep your heart pure. Look beyond what you see right this minute and allow God to give you higher vision, a deeper perspective, and walk in faith and the knowledge that God’s plan for you is far grander than what you may be experiencing now.