July 2, 2008
Ditching the Do-it-Yourself Attitude
by Katherine Peters, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
Wedding planning has taught me two things. First, I'm a do-it-yourself-er that would like to believe she's fully competent to handle every detail. Second, that belief is absolutely ridiculous.
Why is it so hard for me to accept help, especially when a dozen people have offered? In a small way, my attitude smacks of Peter's response to Jesus when the Lord was ready to wash his feet. "What? You, wash my feet? No way, I can't let you serve me like that! You have more important things to do! I'll do it myself!" Guess what's at the center of that attitude? The desire not to "inconvenience" anyone because "I can do it, really" is often intertwined with simple, sinful pride. Accepting help means accepting my limits. It means being humbled by others' service, and I'd rather not, thank you.
Jesus told Peter that unless He washed Peter's feet, then Peter wasn't fit for the Lord's service. I think that's because Peter wasn't willing to humble himself and accept the Lord's act of service. Peter is the father of do-it-yourself Christianity, in which people start believing that they can't accept grace. We forget that "serving others" and "bearing one another's burdens" implies that somebody has to be the recipient. Heaven forbid that recipient be us, because that makes us the weaker party! We'd rather be Jesus than Peter, because then we're saving the world instead of needing salvation ourselves.
I've finally begun to realize what a blessing - and a relief - it is when the body of Christ works together instead of me trying be every part myself. And here's the surprise element: relationships have started to grow as I've spent time with those assisting me in this grand endeavor, and I know these people will keep praying for me even after the big affair is over. These ladies, pastors, and friends have taught me while helping me. They've been Jesus to me. And when my gifts are needed, I'll have a better understanding of how to serve - because they've showed me how.
Intersecting Faith & Life: In what areas, whether spiritual or physical, are you tempted to be a do-it-yourself Christian? Over and over again, the apostles encourage believers to serve one another and live in fellowship with each other, but that only happens when we're willing to be transparent about our strengths and weaknesses. Focus on one area where you need help, and allow others the joy of serving you in prayer or action.