Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s brand-new appreciation themes, Thank You for Your Heart of Service. Use this devotion, and the 64 devotions offered in the softcover book, to show your volunteers, teachers, and staff members how much their work means to your ministry and to the Kingdom of God!
As you present this devotion, you will need a bar of soap, a towel, and a pair of work gloves or colorful mittens.
“Wash your hands!” Who hasn’t heard that before? Some of us needed plenty of reminding when we were growing up. (If possible, tell a personal story from your own childhood. You may also elicit affirmation from parents and teachers of little ones that today’s children still need many reminders.)
Here’s the best solution for dirty hands. (Hold up the soap and a towel.)
But there are other ways to deal with dirty hands. Hide them! (Put your hands in pockets or behind your back.) Or cover them up! (Put on gloves or mittens.)
But we’re not here to wash hands. In fact, today we are going to give thanks for dirty hands - your dirty hands! Is that because I think you forgot to wash up before you came today? No. It’s because dirty hands are a distinguishing mark of all God’s faithful servants.
When we say, “He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty,” we mean the person we’re describing is not the type to walk away and leave necessary tasks to others. He doesn’t sit on his hands. His hands are busy doing what needs to get done. He’s not afraid of dirty hands.
Today, we are honoring several servants of Jesus Christ here at (name your church, school, or organization). Your service among us proves you’re not afraid of dirty hands. Every time I think of you, I echo words the apostle Paul first wrote to the believers in Rome:
I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you (Romans 1:8 KJV).
You are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Neither was our Lord Jesus Christ. When it came to serving us, he got his hands plenty dirty. He was born in a manger - a feeding trough. He spent his childhood in Nazareth, the foster son of a common working man. He traveled the dusty roads of Galilee and walked the grimy streets of Jerusalem. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty to be our hands-on Healer . . . Teacher . . . Listener . . . Shepherd . . . Friend . . . and Savior.
The love Jesus has shown us extended all the way to Calvary. On the cross, his dirty hands became nail-pierced hands. Jesus suffered and died to serve as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Then, on that first Easter morning, he rose from the grave to serve as our living Redeemer. He ascended into heaven to serve as our ever-present God and Lord. He dirtied his hands so he could hand us his righteousness. Now we can pray with the psalmist, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 KJV).
Because of our Savior’s complete and sacrificial service, God answers that prayer! You have the clean heart - and the “dirty hands” - that bring Christ’s love to others. Thank you for serving as a (Sunday school teacher, youth leader, musician, singer, usher, elder, committee member - choose from this list or substitute specific roles filled by those being recognized). God has given you the right spirit - and the “dirty hands” - that mark you as his servant, a willing servant of our Servant-Savior - the Lord, Jesus Christ.
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