Most Baptists do not believe that foot washing is an ordinance. Yet it is a biblical concept. The vivid description of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples is one of the best depictions of servanthood anyone can imagine. The scene must have shocked Peter and the other disciples, but this did not stop Jesus from taking a towel and washing the feet of these ordinary men who had become His followers.
Recently, Bobby Welch, former president of the SBC, led a brief devotional for a meeting of executive directors from state conventions all over North America. This veteran pastoral/missions leader read the words of Scripture, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.” Then he challenged us to group together in twos and pray over each other’s feet.
My prayer partner was Bob White, executive director of our neighbor state convention in Georgia. I kneeled down and placed my hands over his feet (shoes) and asked the Lord to use the influence of Bob White to continue to “bring the good news” to people. When I concluded, Bob then kneeled down and prayed a similar prayer over my feet.
Afterward, Bob and I spontaneously hugged each other in an act of Christian love. Few times in my life has such a simple act meant so much to me. I was moved to tears, and I glanced around the room and I saw so many Christian leaders kneeling down and praying for each other. I wish I had taken a picture of the scene. Well, in one way I did take a picture. It was a mental one, tucked away in the archives of meaningful moments in my ministry.
We may not believe that foot washing is an ordinance, but we do believe in praying for each other. When you pray over the feet of Christian leaders, you are making a commitment to pray for these brothers more than just at that particular moment. For years to come, Bob White will be uppermost in my prayers. I am praying that his feet will become even more beautiful in “bringing the good news” to others.
Thank you, Bobby Welch, for helping me, and I am sure many others, to learn to pray in this profoundly simple way for my brothers in the ministry. This moment is etched in my memory for the rest of my life. I now have an even more special bonding with my friend, Bob White. May his ministry be blessed as his “beautiful feet” are used to serve the Lord.