A couple of weeks ago we had some family visiting from out of town and so we took a trip to our favorite BBQ place. How can I describe this place? Well I guess I would have to say that it’s on the edge of the middle of nowhere. You turn off a two lane road out in the country. This place is so rural that they didn’t even bother to paint lines on the road. Just before the pavement turns to dirt you turn off into a gravel driveway between a couple of small farms. You can eat inside or sit under the covered porch next to the stream behind the restaurant.
Here is where my story begins - a beautiful setting, a family reunion and a pair of brand new white shoes. My niece was so proud of her newest purchase and wanted to show them off. But the moms were in full force with their cameras determined to get everyone huddled together for a barrage of ‘candid’ photos. As people jockeyed for position you can guess what happened. Someone stepped on the shoes. The perfectly white shoes. Someone who had recently been wading in the creek. Oh snap!
In the New Testament we have an account of Jesus sending out disciples on a ministry trip. He gives them some specific instructions on what to do, what to bring and how to act. He also said this –
“If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” – Luke 9:5 NIV
The original word that was translated into English as ‘against’ could also be translated ‘before’. Let me explain. This world has a way of messing up your new shoes but we have to choose how we will respond. You could see the look on my niece’s face. She was not happy but fortunately she is a gracious young lady. They were after all just a pair of shoes and the perpetrator was her cousin that she loved and rarely gets to see. She chose what was most important.
I think the lesson here is to not let other people’s mistakes, offense and sin transfer to you. Dust it off. Right away. If we aren’t careful dirt on our shoes can quickly become a smudge on our heart.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His Holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart…” – Psalm 24:3-4b NIV
… and white shoes.