By Vince Smith
Lead Mission Strategist, CBA Church Network
I started hiking Rowlett Creek on a regular basis in order to spend more time in God’s creation. Miles of black dirt paths run along the banks of the blue crystalline stream. Some of the stream bed is solid rock, other parts loose gravel. I quickly learned I needed different shoes on my feet to negotiate the path and the creek. Water shoes couldn’t handle the gravel and mud. Hiking boots got waterlogged. The solution? Hiking sandals by Keen! Same feet, different shoes led to a beautiful, enjoyable journey communing with God in nature and splashing through the creek with my dog.
This whole experience made me think about feet and the work of the Gospel. Scripture references “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News” three times! (Rom 10:15, Nah 1:15, Is 52:7). Paul also gives us the image of an army of Gospel witnesses standing together, “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15 NASB)
It is easy to extend that image into the here and now and see the thousands of feet in our churches being living witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in our region. This time of year, many of our churches are preparing the church plans, programs, and events for the Fall to engage that army of Good News people in the work of the Gospel.
One morning before my hike I came across another verse about feet: “In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a disease in his feet, and his disease became increasingly severe. Yet even in his disease he didn’t seek the Lord but only the physicians.” (2 Ch 16:11–12) With church attendance stagnant and baptisms dropping, this verse acts as a cautionary tale for the church, I think.
Our tribe of churches is good at developing plans, programs, and processes for our work. We regularly consult the physician, but how often do we as individual churches and as a family of churches seek the Lord together? What if we committed to pray AND consult the physicians? It seems to me we need to change our shoes. It’s an interesting observation—you usually get down on your knees to change your shoes!