Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Bethany Bullet-August 12, 2008

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good
news.” Romans 10:15

I was in my fourth month of vicarage when I was blessed to open a card that was waiting for me on my desk. It had the above passage written on the card cover. I hadn’t even had time to open said card when a $100 bill fell out and softly wafted onto my desk. Immediately it was a good day. I gazed at the words from Romans and the image of a pair of feet walking through a meadow of flowers only to open the card and read, “Your feet are not beautiful. Everyone knows pastors should wear black shoes when serving in God’s house.” Before I explain my footwear let me take a brief aside for a moment.

(This is the first time I have ever told this story outside of a sermon. With the possibility that web browsing may lead the giver of the letter to see or hear this let me take a minute to say: First, thanks for the $100! Second, thank you for the wonderful story, it has been shared in a few parishes, a church-worker conference and a synodical youth evangelism event called, “Beautiful Feet” and has always been well received! Finally, thank you for remaining anonymous—as it may be the only way I could continue to tell it with such joy.)

Now back to the story. “ . . .Everyone knows pastors should wear black shoes when serving God’s house.” Now let me state for the record that the shoes I had been wearing were twice as expensive as the gift! They were two-tone brown leather deck loafers – very stylish to this So Cal. boy but to the So Ill. folk I was serving apparently they lacked in proper decorum. The first thing I thought when I read the note was, “Hey, I got a pair of black shoes in my closet. Now I’ve got $100 bucks too.”

I wasn’t offended but probably should have been. Not at the critique of my clothing choice, I get that all the time, nor at the suggestion of a different style, that too I receive frequently. Rather at the exegesis and the application of the text. Paul quotes Isaiah when he pens the words, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” In the ancient Near East messengers would be shod in sandals at best, they would walk or run over rugged ground that was dusty, rocky, and muddy. By the end of the journey they would certainly be covered in dirt and grim and perhaps even a bloodstain here or there. Yet, their feet were beautiful, because of the message that they had worked so hard to bring.

You have the most beautiful message to share and you have been sent on the most important delivery notice in history – to communicate the Good News of God in Christ. Paul asks, “How can people hear unless someone speaks?” God has sent you to speak the good news, the message of life in Christ.

However, scrolling down a thought on a card is easier. Capitalizing on an opportunity or bringing up the subject is often difficult, even for us who have an easy time talking about politics or culture, sports or entertainment, the weather or the daily grind. What to do? Find a way to use a story to connect to His Story.

Take the following examples given over a 24-hour period of Olympic viewing. Three great stories people are sure to love:

  1. Many of us recall the “lost boys of the Sudan.” Persecuted for their faith, orphaned by horrific crimes, they were refugees who fled to America and found a new home. As the American delegation walked into the “bird’s nest” in Beijing the athlete carrying the Stars and Stripes was a member of the track team, who was also a member of the lost boys of the Sudan. No longer a refugee he was an ambassador of his new country.
  2. An 18-year-old Korean man readied himself to jump into the pool and swim the 400 free. He had been in that position as a 14 year old in Athens. Unfortunately, when they called for the swimmers to get ready he launched into the pool and was immediately disqualified. Humiliated, he exited the pool, went straight into a bathroom and hid in a stall. Four years later when he exited the pool he would go straight onto the podium and be honored with a gold medal.
  3. My favorite story thus far was when Yao Ming, the 7’6” center of the Houston Rockets and Chinese national, carried his countries flag into the opening ceremonies accompanied by a 9-year-old boy. You can picture the disparity in size. This boy was a survivor of the horrific earthquakes in China back in May. He was one of only a handful of his class to make it out of the rubble alive. He managed to dig himself out and then before rescue crews could grab him he climbed back into the carnage and didn’t return until he had led two classmates out alive. When asked why he went back into the pile of rock and debris he said, “I am the hall-monitor it was my duty.”

How great are these stories!

You know they share something with yours right? You too were once lost—a refugee. But you have been found. Now you are a citizen of a new country, a heavenly one, and by grace you’ve become an ambassador of Christ and a banner carrier of God. Your God, who has taken away your shame in Christ, crowned you with love and compassion and declared you to be more than victorious in Jesus. This God daily renews you and daily gives you a new opportunity to display the wonder of His working. For He took on our responsibility, lived a perfect life and suffered on account of our sin. He climbed into the rubble of our guilt and death, a laid therein three days. No rescue was forthcoming, no deliverance on its way. Yet, three days later, restored again he pushed aside the rocks and debris and emerged alive bringing with him not merely a pair of rescued victims but countless throngs of those set free. That is a message that makes any messengers ‘feet’ beautiful.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter