Wanted: People to Untie Sandals

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 1:24-34

As was the washing of feet (see John 13:5), the tying and untying of sandals was the work of the lowliest of servants. I am unworthy, said John the Baptist, of doing even that for Jesus, the promised Messiah. “After me,” he said, “comes a man who ranks ahead of me” (v. 30).

John saw his role not as an executive, but as support staff; not as a leader, but as a follower; not as lord, but as servant; not as celebrity, but as guide. The greatness of John the Baptist lies in his ability to serve and to do so without requiring recognition or honor. Above all else, he wanted people to see Jesus. If that meant becoming personally invisible, so be it.

Later, when some of the disciples were vying for top places in the kingdom’s hierarchy, Jesus defined true greatness: “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26).

Have you untied any sandals lately? Did you do it voluntarily? Did you do it with a smile? Were you miffed when somebody didn’t thank you? Were you jealous when someone else got the credit?


Help us, Lord, to learn the self-giving spirit of John the Baptist, and may we attain true greatness according to the definition of Christ. In His name. Amen.