Really Good Shoes

Matthew 25:34-36

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Our devotion for today is based upon Matthew chapter 25. We begin reading with verse 34.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was lacking clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36)

Many years ago a pastor was telling me an account of a woman who had come to counsel with him and she was very upset. She had been a teacher of children and had lost her job and was now having to work as a cashier at a large grocery and department store. And she felt that this job was just so far beneath her because the work she was doing felt so meaningless. Just running the cash register. The pastor said to her, well how many people come through your register line every day? And she said oh 200, 250 or so. He said, well what do they purchase? She said, well they purchase food, and clothing, and books, and medicine, and stuff for their homes. And he said to her now just think about how many people’s lives you touch each day. Each one of those purchases may go home to a house of three, four, or five people. And they need to have food to sustain their bodies and maybe children are learning to read with the books that you sell. All those things may someday help people when it comes to learning about their Savior down the road as well.

And his point was that it’s sometimes easy for us to think that our vocations in life really are kind of meaningless. But God has some tremendous ways of utilizing all of those interactions with people in a way that benefits his kingdom. Our text in front of us talks about how we can serve God by serving our fellow man. By doing simple little acts of kindness and love for our neighbor or even people in our families. And even when we’re doing our jobs, even when we’re getting paid to do what we’re supposed to be doing, but if we’re doing it well and with integrity to help people, even that is seen as a wonderful gift toward God. You might say fruit on the vine of our faith.

Now the text in front of us shows that Jesus reminds us that God has granted us heaven as an inheritance. An inheritance as a gift. It’s not something you earn. It’s not something you work for. An inheritance is a present or a gift from one generation to the next. And that’s a beautiful way of depicting what God has done for us with His grace in Christ. He gives us that inheritance of heaven purely as a free gift because of what our Savior has done for us. And Faith grabs on to that. But that very same faith then goes out into the world and does action with that faith.

Dr. Martin Luther once was talking about his wife Katie and he said something very interesting to paraphrase him. He said My wife Katie can keep an eye on the stove, she can rock a baby in the cradle with her foot, she can be holding another child in her arms, she can keep another eye on another child who’s playing, and all the time singing a hymn. He said, she can do seven good works at once more than any monk or nun will ever do in their life.

God does not mention any of the sins of his righteous in this paragraph that I just read. Isn’t that interesting? He never brings up any of their faults and sins. Because through Christ that’s been wiped away. But what he does bring up is his admiration for the little acts of kindness that they do in their lives every day. Humble little duties of their vocations in life. I want you to notice something. There’s really nothing spectacular about these things. There’s nothing grand and tremendous by worldly standards. But they’re just humble little things: getting water for someone, getting clothes for someone, going to visit someone.

I’d like to close with one other statement from Martin Luther. Dr. Luther once said “to be a good Christian shoemaker you don’t need to put little crosses on your shoes. All you need to do is just make really good shoes.” When we as Christians just do the things that have been asked of us to take care of our fellow man and serve them in some way God holds these wonderful works very high in heaven as he looks forward to the day when he will take us to be by his side because of his great inheritance for us. Amen.