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(Editor’s Note: The following article is based on an invitation given by Doug Morris, some time ago. He provided most of the types of shoes and passages. I simply filled in the blanks. D.T. )



What Kind of Shoe Describes You?

Contrary to what people in other places think, those of us in Kentucky do wear shoes. Maybe not on a regular basis, but we do have them. Shoes are a common denominator in that we wear them to protect our feet, they enable us to do certain activities, and even for fashion purposes. There are various sayings connecting people to their shoes. For instance, “You can tell a person by the shoes they wear.” Or, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Of course the old, “I hate to be in their shoes.” Let us think about the different shoes we may wear in our relation to God.

Tennis shoes are common. Some people wear them because they are comfortable; others wear them because they are going to play tennis or some other sport that requires speed and action. “2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4). Are we ready and able to “preach the Gospel” or are we slow as molasses? By the phrase “Be ready in season and out of season,” Paul is saying we need to not just be ready, but be busy in spreading God’s word. This includes teaching our brothers and sisters in Christ with words of encouragement or rebuke.  I can see Peter telling the brethren to put on their tennis shoes in 1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Are we like tennis shoes and ready to preach the Gospel and defend it?

Loafers are very casual and comfortable; they are best for wearing inside. You would not wear a pair out to hunt or work outside. Unfortunately, some people are like a pair of loafers. They are not interested in working for the Lord. They are on a permanent break. We read of a person like that in Matthew 25.26, "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.’” This one talented man was not condemned because he possessed only 1 talent but because he did not use that talent. I wonder how many think they have an excuse to not work because they are not as talented as others. It may be disguised as humility but Jesus describes it as being “wicked and lazy!” The saints at Rome were told to not be lagging in diligence, Romans 12.11. I wonder how many will be lost because they never used their talents and opportunities in service to God.

High heels are worn mostly for formal or “dressy” occasions. They lift one up and make them walk taller. The Bible warns us of pride and haughtiness. “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12.3). Pride is never used in positively in the Bible. It is connected to arrogance and rebellion. A prideful person thinks they can do what they want because of who they are, and they tend to look down on others. We need to cast aside pride and replace it with humility. “God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble… Draw near to God and He will drawn near to you” (James 4.6, 8).

Overshoes are worn when the weather gets rough we want to protect our regular shoes. They help to keep our feet dry and warm. I remember putting them on to walk out in the barnyard. One would almost go down to their knees in the muck and mire but their feet were protected. Some Christians think of their religion as overshoes to slip on only when times get rough. Prayers of brothers and sisters are requested when trials are upon them but otherwise they are not interested in praying to God. On the other hand some Christians see their relationship to God as a day by day thing. Their faith is strong and ready to help them whenever problems arise.

Personally I never had been a big fan of house shoes but some people like them. They are comfortable and keep one’s feet warm in the house but they are not very practical or workable. Such describes Christians that wants the work of the church to be done but not by them. They want good Bible classes, song leaders, evangelism, and so on. However, they don’t see a need to do any “personal work” or try to teach a class or help in areas of benevolence. They consider their obligations fulfilled when they show up on Sunday morning. Anything more is just more than reasonable. They are “at ease in Zion ” (Amos 6.1).

Sandals are worn by a lot of people during the summer. There is not must to them, just a few straps to keep them on your feet and a soul. This describes some Christians. They are a mere skeleton of a disciple of Christ. They have never grown to maturity due to a lack of a spiritual appetite. “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3). Christianity is not just defined by what we are not doing but in what we are doing. For a person to grow they must desire it and that is dependent on what interest us.

The term “Sunday shoes” goes back to a time when people had a special pair of shoes that they only wore on Sunday. I remember on the Beverly Hillbilly’s the Jed and the gang talking about their Sunday clothes. Is this how you view your Christianity? Do you wear it only on Sundays? “Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23-24). Christianity is a day by day religion. The people at Berea were more fair or noble minded than those at Thessalonica in that they searched the scriptures daily to see whether their things were so, Acts 17.11. The saints in Jerusalem meet daily in the temple, Acts 2.46. We are not guaranteed that Jesus will come the second time on Sunday. 

Another shoe that one will see in the summer time is flip flops. They are also very casual and comfortable. However, I have noticed their tendency to come off people’s feet. I have seen people run out of their flip flops or kick them off. Some Christians are like flip flops in that they are pretty unstable and wishy washy. Jacob in describing his son Reuben said, “Unstable as water” (Genesis 49.3b). In other words, Reuben lacked backbone. He kind of stood up to his brothers when they wanted to kill Joseph but he did not stand with Joseph. James 1.8 speaks of those that are “double-minded” and “unstable.” Some people will not defend the truth when it is being ridiculed. They are afraid of controversy or making others angry. They want to be friends of the world and God. Such is not possible. With them it is a faith problem, they just don’t have enough.

Work shoes are just what they are called. They are shoes that we wear when we are ready to work. There is a commercial in which a pair of work shoes is personified. It says I have spent more time on dirt than concrete. I like that description of work shoes. They are not afraid to get some dirt on them or to get wet. As Christians we should be like a good pair of work shoes. Not afraid of the wear and tear of work but ready to embrace it.  Jesus came to do the work of His Father in heaven. “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Likewise we will have a time of rest but now is not that time. We are still in the day and now is the time to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2.12.

So which shoe or shoes best describes you? The thing about shoes is you can change them. – Dennis Tucker


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