I’m Not That Man

I want to be that man.

You know—the person they think I am.

I want to spend my hours and minutes considering ways to help folks around me.  I’d like to be confident that all things work for good—confident enough that stress couldn’t ever color the edges of my emotions—confident enough that I would never give in to worry and despair.

I want to be the guy who knows exactly what action a true follower of Jesus would take in any given situation.  And, I’d like to take that action.  Every time, I’d like to do that.

I’m not that man.

I’m not.

Are you disappointed in me?  I am.  

I wanted to spend these last few days, the period of time we call Holy Week, in contemplation of the cost of grace.  I thought I could perhaps offer some deep insights into the substitutionary atonement made for us on the cross during this week so many centuries ago. 

I haven’t.  I can’t.

You see, I’ve spent the entire week—every single day—in activities that resemble the sacred arts not at all.  I’ve dug up roots from the ground.  I’ve hung drywall.  I’ve spread topsoil.  I’ve carried desks to storage, and brush to the street, and a load of poison to the recycle center.

Nearly sixty thousand steps this week, over twenty thousand of them just yesterday—that’s how far I’ve walked.  There are more steps to be walked tomorrow. 

It doesn’t sound very holy, does it?

But, as I took off my socks yesterday to prepare for the shower which would wash the sweat and filth off of me, I saw a shadowy picture in my mind.  

A nearly naked Man leaned over a basin of water, wearing nothing but a towel around His waist, and he washed the dirty feet of every single man in the room.  (John 13:4)

I looked at my feet and wondered how many steps those men had taken since last their feet were washed?  How filthy would the water in that basin have been?

But the Man completed his job, dressed again, and sat down to eat His final meal with them—the only one at the table with unwashed feet.

It was but a fleeting, fuzzy vision, washed away like dirt down that drain long before I wiped the steam from my mirror.

Today, my writing friends plied the tools of their trade and committed thousands of contemplative words to their pages and hard drives.

Not me.  I walked more steps.

I am not that man.

I wonder.

Is it just as holy this week to walk on along the road He has set before us? Click To Tweet

Is it just as holy this week—just as holy—to walk on along the road He has set before us?  



With purpose?

The Man who suffered—the Man who died—the Man who lives again that we may live—He made us to walk, and work, and weep, and worship on this road.

He made us to walk, and work, and weep, and worship on this road. Click To Tweet

Every week.  Every day.  Every hour.  Every moment.

They’re all holy because He made them so.

I’m not that man. Really, I’m not.

But, He is.


The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His.
(Francis Chan ~ American pastor/author)


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
(Colossians 3:23 ~ NLT)



© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.


5 thoughts on “I’m Not That Man

  1. How is it we have the same thoughts so many times? I have been mulling this whole dilemma over and over the past few weeks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Paul, I love this post so much! How ironic it is that culture tends to label certain parts of our life more holy than others. When, in reality, as you point out, when we are walking with obedience the road set before us, it is Holy. I write about sensing God’s voice and encountering the Holy Spirit in the mundane moments. The ways you treated the cashier at the gas station, coworkers, and family this week speak Holiness into their lives with the same force as if you felt compelled to speak it through a post.

  3. I liked this post. And I was taught that we are his. Wholly his. So whatever we do we can do unto him. And if it’s moving piles of garbage, then we can move it as he would. If it’s writing we can say the words he’d say. I liked your post. Maybe because I can see him in you.

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