Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. – John 13: 14-17
Even as a kid, I always liked Holy Thursday mass because I was fascinated by watching the priest wash the feet of twelve members of the parish. When I was in high school, I had the honor of being the recipient of a foot washing by my pastor, and as Peter rebuffed (at first) Jesus’ attempt to wash his feet – I also felt uneasy as I did not feel right about accepting the help of another in this fashion.
This sentiment is felt by many who are on the receiving end of networking – they do not feel worthy of receiving the assistance the contact is willing to provide. As Jesus told his disciples, He has set an example that we are to follow and repeat in our interactions with others. When we accept the help of others, we should embrace this example of service in our interactions with others.
At my current parish, we add a wrinkle to the foot washing. There are eight stations set up around the church and any person can go to a station to have his or her foot washed by another. After receiving this gift, the recipient in turn washes another person’s foot. One witnesses parents washing the feet of children, children washing the feet of church elders, and strangers washing each others’ feet. As Jesus told us, no servant is greater than his master – this exercise drives home the point that any person can help another.
I often hear job hunters who want to only talk with decision makers, hiring managers, as they feel that is the best route to generating results in their networking efforts. While this may be true, I think of the images from Holy Thursday mass at my parish and remember seeing the child helping the parent. This image reminds me that one should reach out to anyone within an organization and not just senior executives/decision makers – as we all have advice, contacts, and insights we can offer.
Let the teachings of the one who washed His disciples’ feet be a reminder in our interactions with others. Have a blessed Easter.