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On Your Feet
Our feet serve us well on our journey through life, but our thoughts determine the path our feet will take.

I read recently that the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. That's up to 15,000 miles during a lifetime! Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and tendons, 107 ligaments, and miles of blood vessels and nerves. One quarter of the bones in your whole body are in your feet. Perhaps that's why a foot massage is such an agreeable experience.

On Your Feet

I have a wonderful pair of well-used feet. As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed the pleasurable experience of walking. My feet have carried me barefoot over sun-warmed stones, grassy fields of clover, and down worn pathways lined with evergreens and bird song. They've tirelessly carried me up hillsides on a snowy eve where I've tucked them around my buddy on the toboggan that we raced downhill over and over again. They've taken me exploring through leafy woods and along a quietly murmuring brook, hesitating often as my young eyes scanned shaded ground for the first purple violets of the season. Often, a few of us would get off our rural school bus at the corner and walk the mile home enjoying the freedom of the space of time between school and home chores. They've paced through long nights comforting a sick child, and they've trudged me home to rest after a long day of work. They have sauntered, walked, run, skipped, and jogged me through life.

My steps are sometimes more timid than I would wish for I am by nature a reserved person, but when necessary, they have marched me boldly along a path I would not normally choose. At times, they have placed me in circumstances that were not in my best interest, but of course they are not to blame, for what is cherished in my thoughts determines the path my feet will take.

I was reading John 13 recently which relates the account of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. On this last evening with His disciples, Jesus longed to prepare these 12 beloved followers for what was soon to come. But there was dissension and jealousy among them as to who would have the highest honour in His kingdom. Each had deemed themselves more worthy than the other. Jesus looked at them and was heavily burdened knowing that they were woefully unprepared for what lay ahead.

As they entered into the upper room to eat the Passover supper, there were more grumbles from the 12 when it was discovered that there was no servant present to wash their feet. The pitcher, basin and towel were all there in readiness, and the disciples knew that it was up to one of them to perform this act. But each pretended unconcern rather than be the one to humble himself and serve the others. Jesus was all too aware of these feelings of pride and resentment as he quietly prepared to be a model of servanthood that they would never forget. Picking up a towel and tucking it in his waist, he poured water into a basin and began to wash the dust and dirt from the disciples' tired feet. We are told that bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts, and they understood Jesus' unspoken rebuke. Sometimes it takes a bitter and humbling experience to reveal our true characters, especially to ourselves.

I love to feel the softness of a baby's foot—so new and so innocent—and wonder where these cherished feet will take this child. What path through life will he follow?

There is a pathway that is deceptively alluring where many confidently place their feet, eager to experience the myriad of destructive pleasures along its trail. The architect of this trail is a master at deceiving those who choose this path. Perhaps for a time the sun shines warmly on the travellers' back and his step is light and eager. He complacently believes this easy walk has him heading in the right direction, until one day a crushing rockslide brings him to a painful halt. Now he looks for a way out.

Each step we walk reveals which path we are on.

There is another pathway that runs parallel to this road of deception. It is an elevated road, straight and narrow, but if a traveler keeps his eyes focused on the Guide, he will get through safely.

How frightened and angry the great deceiver is when one of his travellers chooses to walk along this higher pathway that takes them further and further from his control and temptations. He struggles mightily for his victim, loathe to free him, and he would surely win but for the pleading of the Spirit urging the traveller to take a step higher and walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

Each step we walk reveals which path we are on. We must ever be watchful of the lurking distractions of this life. Alert—never sleeping, lest our wilful feet lose sight of our beckoning Guide.

"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths"(Proverbs 3:6).

Carolyn Willis is editor of the Canadian Adventist Messenger.

Originally published in the Canadian Adventist Messenger, March 2005.




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