The arrival of Spring each year with its rainbow of blooming dogwoods and azaleas never fails to generate awe and wonder and amazement at the natural beauty and majesty of God’s creation.


But the arrival of Spring back home at Route Four meant that once again we could enjoy the pleasures of going barefoot. The memories of jumping in mud puddles after Spring showers, playing in Coneross Creek, and the feel of newly plowed earth between our toes as we worked in the garden are now just memories of so many Spring-times ago, and a lifestyle long abandoned, if not forgotten altogether.


Sure, there were challenges of going barefoot on the farm. Tree stumps, briars, sharp rocks, and yellow jackets under the pear tree are just a few that come to mind. Try putting on shoes and socks to go to church on Sunday after you’ve stumped your big toe on a tree root on Saturday afternoon! Joy and pain – sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it? But that’s a thought for another trip to the woodshed.


At the end of the day, going barefoot meant having dirty feet! And that brings up the memories of Mother’s nightly foot inspections. Without the benefit of a hot shower (hard to accomplish without running water!), Mother would always have some warm water in the reservoir of the old wood-burning cook stove to take the chill off the well water. And then it was foot-washing time. And don’t even think about wiping your feet on the apron tied around her waist if you haven’t completely scrubbed between every toe on both feet!


There were no portraits on the walls of the four-room, weather-board, no central air conditioning or heated farmhouse at Route Four. But today, my favorite portrait of all time is the Last Supper. It was there in the upper room, just before Jesus was to be crucified, that the Apostle John described (Ch. 13, NIV) how Jesus planted a seed in the minds of His disciples, and left an example of service for all eternity, about washing each other’s feet. By performing that lowly, dirty, smelly job of washing the stinking feet of those guys around that table, our Lord taught us what it means to be ‘saved to serve.’ And as He told them, if it’s good enough for Him, it’s the least we can do for each other.


How do we wash someone’s feet? Don’t look for somebody going barefoot. You won’t find many ‘stumped big toes’ in today’s world! Rather, look for needs and hurts. Widows, orphans, poor, needy, sick people all need their feet washed. I think that hospital waiting rooms should be called foot-washing rooms. I received the blessing of a foot-washing recently when two dear friends, Judy and Jeanette, waited with me while Helen was having surgery. And before she went in to surgery, Helen’s feet were washed by Walt Sweet, one of our ministers at Rock Springs Baptist Church. Walt made the sixty mile round trip to spend five minutes in prayer with Helen before her surgery. After her surgery, Don Pressley from our church made the same drive the next day to check on her recovery. And, oh my goodness, the casseroles that so many people brought to our kitchen were loaded with much more than physical nourishment.


So, grab a towel, folks. Even in a world of fancy footwear, we’re still surrounded by people going barefoot!