I have a rough confession to make. I am not sure if I will forever lose some of you, but it is just that I have a point that I want to make. Okay, here is goes….I am a life long fan of the New York Yankees. Yes, the fourth place New York Yankees. Yes, those overpaid, underperforming prima donnas! But here is something that you may not know…at every home game played at the soon to be torn down Yankee Stadium the players pass through a long hall as they make their way out of the club house and into the dugout. As they make their way through day after day during the long season they pass under a sign which contains a quote from the great Joe DiMaggio, “I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.” That sign was put there to remind these players every day that they are upholding a tradition. Many of the players in passing under the sign will reach up a hand to touch it, to remind themselves of who they are and what the uniform they wear means.
In my home I have a similar token that I pass by every time I leave the house and every time I arrive home. It is not a sign, but a symbol. The symbol is a basin and towel. Some years ago my wife hung it there on the wall following a sermon I preached at the ordination of one of our deacons. I preached from John 13 on the actions which Jesus took among his disciples on that night in which he was betrayed. There are two times when Jesus told his disciples to ensure that they were imitating him, doing exactly what he did. One was in regard to love and the other was in regard to serving one another. The basin and the towel remind me every day when I leave the home that I am to serve others. It reminds me that my purpose in life is not to pursue my own ease or pleasure, but that of others. And as I pass it on my way into my home, it reminds me that I am not done with service. I have a wife and four children (five this year with a foreign exchange student from Germany living with us) who need me. Home is a refuge, home is a place to recover, but it is also a place where I need to take up the basin and the towel. Though you may not place the symbol in your home, may I exhort us all to ensure that we take it with us when we leave the home and remember that we do not lay it down once we reenter the home!