I don’t like to take care of errands when it’s raining, but sometimes I can’t avoid it. I grab an umbrella, use the remote to unlock my car, dash outside, and hop in the car. But I have a friend who doesn’t have to worry about getting in and out of the car in the rain. She doesn’t have a car.
She walks to work. She walks everywhere, rain or shine. Everything she buys at the grocery store comes home in her own two hands. And if it’s raining she carries it in one hand, because an umbrella is in the other.
The first day I met this barefoot friend, she asked me if I had any shoes. Size six. I listened politely, silently wishing she wore size ten so I could give her a pair of my shoes. But since I was distributing food at the time, I had no shoes to offer her. I filed the request away internally and moved on.
I don’t walk to work in the rain and I don’t have holes in my shoes, so I put my neighbor’s need on the back burner. Way back. And months later, she asked me about shoes again. We had just finished another very rainy week. But this time I didn’t just listen to her story. I saw her need. She is employed at a hotel and she walks to work. It is only about a mile walk, which isn’t bad. But she has holes in her shoes. When the ground is wet or when it is raining, her feet get wet on the way to work. And she works on her feet all day.
What kind of shoes does she need?
This is her answer: “Any shoes without holes would be appreciated.”
I went directly from her home to the store. My neighbor has shoes without holes now. In fact, recently someone else (who wears size six shoes) heard about my neighbor’s need and brought a bag FULL of shoes without holes!
The gospel is revealed in tangible and intangible ways as we respond to needs around us. Oh, to understand what it means to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. If the gospel of peace is on our feet, then we always have a pair of shoes to give away. And by the grace of God, those shoes shall never wear out.
And John came preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in Isaiah: ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight! Every valley lifted up, mountains made low, the crooked straight, the rough places smooth, that all people will see the salvation of God TOGETHER! (Luke 3:3-6, Isaiah 40:4-5)
“And the crowds were questioning John, saying, ‘What shall we do?’ And he would answer and say to them, ‘Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.'” Luke 3:10-11