Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GUEST POST: "Beautiful Feet" by Vilbert Vallence

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news." Isaiah 52:7.

Feet are not the most noticed or the most pampered features of our body. They don't attract as much attention as the face or the hands. Yet Isaiah describes them as beautiful.

Paul shows his agreement with this by quoting Isaiah's words in Romans 10:15. They speak of the feet of the messengers of good news.

This is not true in the literal sense. In the Bible we see Jeremiah thrown into a cistern where his feet sank into the mud.( Jer. ch.37). John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and Silas were imprisoned and their feet chained or put in stocks. This must have left unsightly marks on their ankles and feet. Later when Peter was crucified upside down his feet were nailed to a cross.

Church history relates the lives of many Christians who were tortured, burnt or thrown to wild animals. Their feet were maimed and mangled, but not beautiful, though they were heralds of God's love and peace. Sadhu Sundar Singh who became a Christian after seeing a vision of Christ was known as "the apostle with the bleeding feet" as he walked far and wide bare footed to spread Christ's message. Mother Teresa's feet were 'calloused and twisted' as she went helping the sick and dying and unwanted on the roads of Kolkata often with ill fitting shoes.

Some could not even use their feet. Sarah Tucker was a cripple and never moved out of her house. Hearing of the condition of women in India through her missionary brother John Tucker she mobilized the churches in England to help educate Indian girls. Sarah Tucker College in Palayamkottai stands as a monument to her. It is the first women's college in Southern India. Amy Carmichael who founded the Dohnavur Fellowship to rescue and shelter girls sold into flesh trafficking, was for the last twenty years of her life confined to a wheelchair because of an accident. Many such instances can be quoted of useless or scarred feet in the service of God.

It is interesting to note that both Isaiah and Paul extol the feet and not the mouth of the messengers. It is the mouth that confesses the salvation got for us by Jesus and proclaims the good news to others. In general evangelists and preachers are good orators. Why are the feet then given more importance and praised? In Ephesians ch. 6 where God's armour for the Christian is given Paul speaks of the "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace". It is the willingness and readiness of the messenger that is highlighted.

From the Old Testament prophets to the present day missionaries many pairs of willing feet have gone to places near and far taking the message of salvation.

At the Last Supper Jesus washed the feet of the disciples not only to cleanse them but also to strengthen, sanctify and prepare them for the long and arduous journeys they will have to make for the sake of the gospel. The Ascension is the last event in Christ's earthly life. Pictures of this event show Jesus being received above into the clouds while His feet with the nail prints point downwards, perhaps a reminder to the surprised disciples to use their feet" to go into all the world and preach the gospel".

The most beautiful feet belonged to Jesus. He willingly and eagerly walked the length and breadth of Judea from temple to house, from narrow paths to wide roads, on the seashore, even over the sea and on the hillsides with words of forgiveness and peace in His mouth and healing in His hands. Finally His feet took Him to Calvary to be nailed to the cross, but the feet crushed the Serpent's head. If we are to follow Jesus we must have willing feet like Him ready to love and serve. Then our feet will be beautiful in the sight of God and our whole life will be something beautiful for God.

"Oh, let me see Your footprints,

And in them plant mine own;

My hope to follow duly

Is in Your strength alone."
( by John E Bpde)

“Lord God, make me an encourager not a grumbler.

Lord, when I meet someone

Open my vision that I may see beyond their limitations to their potential

Open my lips that I may speak a word of praise and encouragement

Lord may they develop into the people that You would have them be, Amen."

( David C Morley)

Article by Rev. Vilbert Vallance
Pastoral Care
Bangalore Baptist Hospital

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