THE Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes.
A few years ago, a close friend of mine, whose daughter was getting married asked me to come down to his city to help him with wedding arrangements.
“Praise the Lord brother,” said the first decorator, coming to both of us, sitting in his car in the compound of the cathedral, “Have a look at my album!”
“God be with you sir!” said the second person, telling me his rates.
Each of them greeted us with either a ‘Praise the Lord!’ or some similar greeting but shocked me with the exorbitant prices they were quoting. Some of them even ten times what I’d paid for in Mumbai, a far more expensive city.
They were Christians all of them, and like Martin Luther said, good at making crosses on their shoes but with their exorbitant prices were certainly not honest businessmen.
We finally chose someone who did not, “praise the Lord’ us but charged much, much cheaper and did an excellent job.
I still remember him for the ‘good shoes’ he made! If he had been a Christian I would have remembered as a good Christian because of the good shoes he made!
And these crosses on your shoes, Luther talks about, happen in many areas of our life: Are you a greeter in your church who shakes hand with every newcomer who walks in? But do you follow up, or was the handshake the ‘cross’ you put on your shoe? Have you given that newcomer a call? Or are you waiting for next Sunday to put yet another cross on your shoe?
“Brother!” I am told as I sit on the boards of some Christian organsations, “This is not like your secular world, here we have compassion!” Which translates into coming late for meetings, having lunch breaks for two hours, having five-day week’s when the rest work on Saturdays, and running the organization unprofessionally!
Was that what Christ meant when he stood on top of the Mount and with a voice quivering with fervor and passion pleaded with five thousand people, “You are the light of the world, like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket.
Instead put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father!’
Just imagine Jesus, the carpenter’s son, helping his dad and says essayist Dorothy Sayers, “No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever, I dare swear, came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth” What, dear friend comes from your life-shop everyday? Excellence, or decorative, ‘praise the Lord’ crosses on shoes?