Summary: As we strap on our good news shoes, we follow after Jesus Christ, our Lord, where He will take us. As we follow Him we tread out, we live out, and we walk out, the Gospel of Peace in palpable ways.
Good News Shoes, Romans 10:5-15
One of the most beautiful of all Christmas stories was told by the American poet, Edwin Markham, about a cobbler, a godly man who made shoes in the old days. One night the cobbler dreamed that the next day Jesus was coming to visit him. The dream seemed so real that he got up very early the next morning and hurried to the woods, where he gathered green boughs to decorate his shop for the arrival of so great a Guest.
He waited all morning, but to his disappointment, his shop remained quiet, except for an old man who limped up to the door asking to come in for a few minutes of warmth. While the man was resting, the cobbler noticed that the old fellow’s shoes were worn through. Touched, the cobbler took a new pair from his shelves and saw to it that the stranger was wearing them as he went on his way.
Throughout the afternoon the cobbler waited, but his only visitor was an elderly woman. He had seen her struggling under a heavy load of firewood, and he invited her, too, into his shop to rest. Then he discovered that for two days she had had nothing to eat; he saw to it that she had a nourishing meal before she went on her way. As night began to fall, the cobbler heard a child crying outside his door. The child was lost and afraid. The cobbler went out, soothed the youngster’s tears and, with the little hand in his, took the child home.
When he returned, the cobbler was sad. He was convinced that while he had been away he had missed the visit of his Lord. Now he lived through the moments as he had imagined them: the knock, the latch lifted, the radiant face, the offered cup. He would have kissed the hands where the nails had been, washed the feet where the spikes had entered. Then the Lord would have sat and talked to him.
In his anguish, the cobbler cried out, “Why is it, Lord, that Your feet delay. Have you forgotten that this was the day?” Then, soft in the silence a voice he heard:
“Lift up your heart for I kept My word.
Three times I came to your friendly door;
Three times My shadow was on your floor.
I was the man with the bruised feet.
I was the woman you gave food to eat,
I was the child on the homeless street.”
This morning I want to talk to your about shoes; good news shoes! The cobbler, the shoe-maker, in the story I just shared with you, woke up the morning after his dream, ready to meet Christ. Instead he met an old man whom he shoed, an old woman whom he fed, and a young boy whom he helped to find his way home.
In meeting the needs of those three individuals the cobbler, the shoe-maker, met Christ. You see, Jesus is to be found in serving others; we look into His eyes every time we look into to the eyes of someone in need. Each act of compassion, every gift of love, and every deed of kindness done in His name, takes us closer to Him because it brings us closer to knowing the heart of God.
Matthew 25:34-40 says, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (NKJV)
I want talk to you about choosing to strap on your good news shoes each morning, each day. The Christian life is about strapping on your sandals, picking up your walking stick and following after the Master of Mercy; Jesus Christ!
Treading out the Gospel
In today’s Gospel reading the Apostle Paul, quoting the Old Testament, says, “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15 NIV) To properly understand what Paul is saying, it is important to consider the passage that he is quoting in its original context.