Wednesday, December 9, 2009
My Own Shoes
It reminds me of a story I heard a few months ago. A very large church in Northern California had a very well known pastor. The pastor died leaving quite a legacy. A new pastor was eventually selected and was being shown around the grounds. He heard the many stories of his predecessor, all the wonderful things he did and the many people he touched. As he ended the tour of the grounds, the elder showing him around turned and said; “You’ve got some mighty big shoes to fill!” The wise pastor responded; “I’ve got my own shoes”.
Jesus came with his own “shoes”, too. When He came, others expected Him to wear the shoes they had for Him… the shoes of an emperor, a king, a liberator, a politician, a priest… But Jesus came with His own shoes, His own way of doing things, led by His Father. He did not fill the shoes others had for Him, yet He did exactly what He was called to do. He did not fit their image of what He should be yet He was exactly who they (and we) needed! Thank God He did not change His shoes and wear the ones others had for Him.
Sometimes churches have different “shoes” that they want their pastor to fill. The shoes might be flip-flops (a more casual personality and approach to doing things), they could be sneakers, penny loafers, or hob-nail boots, whatever the shoes, and they are not “right” unless they are the pastor’s own shoes. Trying to wear someone else’s shoes can cause painful blisters, sore feet, and even difficulty standing and walking. It could throw the whole body out of alignment by wearing the wrong shoes. Trying to wear someone else’s shoes feels un-natural and uncomfortable. It’s best to let people “wear their own shoes”. Let them be who they are. This goes for pastors, accompanists, teachers, husbands and wives. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we don’t have standards. I’m just saying; let people wear their own shoes. Trust the ones who are wearing them to conduct their lives according to God’s plan and purpose for them.
Let’s give each other room to be ourselves! I’m glad I don’t have to wear the shoes left for me by my predecessor; they wouldn't fit me anyway. I have my own shoes.