I’m really sick of hearing about shoes in the news lately. But, surprisingly, I think it’s time for a brief word about shoes— from a Biblical perspective.
The Bible has a lot more to say about shoes than most of us realize. Way back in Exodus, when God called Moses from the burning bush, He commanded Moses to take off his shoes. Later, in Deuteronomy, the Israelites are reminded that during their years of wandering, their shoes did not wear out– God took care of even the smallest and lowliest of details in providing for their needs in the wilderness.
Boaz secured the right to marry Ruth through an old ritual involving an exchange of sandals. The prophets used shoes to indicate the coming exile, and the need for people to be prepared to leave their homeland.
In the New Testament, John the Baptist declares Jesus’ superiority by saying that he (John) is not worthy to latch Jesus’ shoes! And the Apostle Paul includes shoes (or sandals or boots) in his list of spiritual armor, asking us to wear on our feet the readiness of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). A Christian’s shoes are to be used to bring good news and peace– not anger, protests, and divisiveness.
Shoes are meant to serve a useful purpose. They protect our feet from surfaces that are hot, cold, wet, dusty, or rough. They provide traction, allowing us to start and stop moving on pavement, gravel, rocks, and flooring. Some shoes even provide arch support so we may stand and walk for hours with minimum damage to our bones and nerves. Shoes allow us to walk farther, run faster and with more confidence, and stand firm.
The most ridiculous thing about all the fighting over a shoe’s ad campaign is that it’s not about the SHOE–and no one is entirely clear on what it IS about– is it about race, police, injustice, patriotism, lack of patriotism, residual guilt over slavery, respect (or lack of respect) for military and/or rescue personnel, the NFL, Black Pride, White Privilege, income inequality, all of the above, something entirely different? Mostly, it seems to be about anger, hurt feelings, hatred, and generic outrage.
None of that seems like a shoe I want to wear.
Lord, from my head to my toes, I want to bring peace, hope, and love to this world in YOUR NAME. Help me not to be blinded or distracted by all the world’s empty substitutes. Let me wear the shoes that make my feet ready to bring your gospel of peace and reconciliation to others. May I walk and run and climb and stand in Christ’s name and for His sake. Amen.