Lakshmi was the first person ever to wash John’s feet. She and her family are migrant workers from a very poor brick-making caste in India.
Lakshmi poured some of their precious water over John’s feet and wiped them with her hands. John wept unashamedly. As she washed, Lakshmi thanked Jesus for John and the message he had shared. You see, John hadn’t just preached to the brick-makers. He had spent time with them. He had eaten their food and drunk their water. He had shown them how to follow the God who loves them and knows them by name. Lakshmi and several others soon became beloved co-laborers with John in their community.
A few months later, monsoon season arrived. While the farmers rejoice at the rains, brick-makers cringe. They can’t work until the rains end. Since they couldn’t work, the brick-making families decided to go back home to see family.
But when Lakshmi and the other leaders shared their plans with John, he was sad and confused. Why leave? A year ago, when they arrived, they had been idol worshipers. Now there were 17 house churches among the 40 families of the community. “Why go home?” he asked. “Please stay. We can pray and wait out the monsoons. Don’t go.”
These folks love John as much as he loves them, but they knew they had to leave. That was six weeks ago.
John recently learned that each of the 17 families has started at least one new Bible study in homes among their family and friends back home. Their departure didn’t make sense before, but now John knows that God had a plan to use all of them in their home state. They planted churches in a previously unreached place. Now John looks forward to the families’ return in early October. What a joy it will be to rejoice together over what God did during their months apart!
We all too easily think we know best what other people should do. But in making disciples of all nations, our recurring question must be: Whose disciple am I making – my own or His? To make disciples of Jesus, we all, like John the Baptist, must decrease so that Jesus can increase.