Jesus Ironed His Own Clothes

Jesus strikes me as the kind of guy to do his own ironing. I probably need to back up some.

A few months ago, I showed up to church frazzled and not well put together. A gentleman, whom I truly love dearly, came up to me and said something, intending to be funny, about the wrinkles in my clothes. I told him it was a struggle to get everyone together and out of the house that morning, and I didn’t have time to iron my clothes before church. He looked legitimately confused and asked a clarifying question, “You iron your clothes?” I smiled, said yes, and he walked away with a look of perplexity. He was struggling, I presume, to understand why I, a man, would iron my clothes and not my wife. I’ve ironed my own clothes my entire adult life. Just have. No one told me to, I just needed my clothes ironed, so I ironed them. I never even thought about that fact until that moment. It bothered me. No, it bothers me.

Back up further. Different year, church, and setting. I make a delicious kiwi lime angel food cloud cake. Layers of cake, lime whip, kiwi slices, and strawberry relish. So good. With a fair amount of pride I took it to a church function, and people reacted one of two ways: either 1) they didn’t eat it because they knew I made it and didn’t trust my ability to bake, or 2) told my wife how much they loved it, assuming she had made it. She politely set the record straight each time, and they walked away with the same look of confusion.

Much has been said about egalitarianism and feminism in the sphere of Christianity. I don’t intend to get into all that. I’m not making an exegetical case for or against a particular scriptural interpretation. Google can do that better than I, I suspect. But I do think Jesus would have ironed his own clothes. He didn’t have an iron, I get it, but there’s a principle in his character that makes me think he would have. “The son of man came not to be served but to serve” (Matt 20:28). He did not ask someone to wash his feet; he washed their feet. He did not let others die for him; he died for them. There’s a characteristic of Jesus that makes me think he ironed, too.

Recently, pop sensation DJ Khaled graphically and boldly told the world that he, the king of his relationship, expects his wife, the queen, to do things that he suggests are beneath him, including but not limited to sexual acts. I’m not going to go into this in detail; google at your own risk. The point is, he expects and holds a different standard of behavior over his wife from which he is exempt.

I’m baffled! Why do some expect certain people to owe them servitude? This mindset of entitlement drives racism, sexism, elitism, slavery, genocide, and so many other atrocities. I say this not to take on any one of these issues, but as a reminder that Jesus felt entitled to nothing. He emptied his entitlement so that he could serve others. I don’t believe that in a million years he ever would expect someone else to iron his clothes. That emptiness of entitlement, which is more elegantly stated in Philippians 2, is a mindset passed on to us as his followers.

So I iron my own clothes, and I’m pretty sure Jesus did, too.

Chess serves as the pulpit minister at Arlington Church of Christ in Arlington, Virginia. A born and raised Texan, Chess earned a B.A., M.Div., and M.A. in New Testament from Abilene Christian University. He is passionate about God and his family, and deeply desires to help others fall in love with God so that they may imitate the life and love of Christ. Chess loves to read, learn, and have deeper conversations about God. He also enjoys Formula One racing, playing golf, working on and rebuilding cars, and translating and studying dead languages.

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Author:  Publish Date: May 18, 2018

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @ acu.edu.

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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