Today TOMS, an innovative new shoe company, facilitated a campaign called "One Day without Shoes" to raise awareness of the fundamental role that shoes provide in protecting us against diseases. When I first heard about this event several months ago, I immediately checked my calendar to make sure that participating would be convenient for me and my “busy” schedule. This was an immediate sign that I needed to participate more than anybody else.
Over the past few weeks I have come up with several more reasons to join the cause.
- This “one day” intrigued me because I don't think I have ever thought about barefoot children, diseases or the blessings that my 10+ pairs of shoes are.
- One of my podcast mentors, David Platt has preached several times on the fact that everyday 26,000 children die of preventable diseases. (That means each 24 hour period)
- I can’t help but wonder if Podoconiosis, a 100% preventable disease that effects 1,000,000 Ethiopians, is one of the diseases that makes up this statistic.
- For 10 years now I have wanted to go on an international mission trip in order to see what true poverty looks like by working, serving and loving in a 3rd world country.
- I believed that this day would help me live in an Ethiopian, Rwandan or Nigerian’s “shoes” for a short 18 hour period.
- As a believer in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of the world, I believe that world starvation and death from preventable diseases are ultimately issues that Christ’s church should eliminate. This is indeed our call as Christians and an especially prevalent issue that we must meet since America is one of the richest countries in the history of the world.
These reasons lead me to fast with a Christian mindset focused upon hearing from God. My purpose throughout the day was to ask God to rock my world to being barefoot for life. Since God is the faithful and the one true God, He did exactly that.
This morning I woke up excited to be barefoot because of what I would experience. This immediately changed when I stepped out of the Loft and onto a bunch of holly bush leaves....Holy CRAP! I’ve never noticed all the leaves, pebbles and jagged rocks around where I parked each day. Before I even started my daily commute, I was thankful for small amenities like shoes and pavement.
On campus as I walked from my car to class I caught myself drifting back to my American comfort and dodging the nastiness on the sidewalk, not to mention the fact that I stuffed flip-flops in my backpack just in case “I really needed them.” I also soon became thankful for the American amenities of carpet, linoleum and AC, even though my feet got cold.
Throughout my day of errands, studying, crossing Magazine Street and walking to Fuel Cafe to pick up the Bricks’ take-out, for the first time I noticed every little stick, rock, piece of glass and other particle along my way. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful for where I have been born or blessed to live by God’s grace. This evidence of His grace in my life then led me to begin to prayerfully consider how I should respond. The verse I meditated on for most of the day actually appears in Scripture twice, Isaiah 52:7 & Romans 10:15. I was overcome by the beauty of my bare feet because God impressed on my heart to more passionately and boldly proclaim the Good News of the Gospel in my community & world. The Gospel is that God loved the every person so much in their individual broken state that He responded by sending Jesus Christ to earth to die for their exact problem and sinfulness. (Romans 3:22-24)
If you missed “One Day without Shoes” I want to encourage you to simply walk barefoot around your block or subdivision for just a few minutes in hopes of becoming aware of the overwhelming need in this world.
If you are a Christian I want to encourage you to begin to ask God to convict you in areas that need it and response to needs which He desires you to meet personally. Let’s pursue Christ and His mission in this world no matter the cost of personal comfort, worldly pleasures or selfishness. Let’s lose it all in order to see Him glorified in every nation and tribe.
A part of my response will be what we encourage at Vintage Church:
- Pray for My feet and legs are hurting as I head to bed tonight from all the barefoot walking I did. Tonight I can identify in a very very small way with the nations that Operation World prays for.
- Give toward I’m thankful for the way in which TOMS is meeting physical needs in this world by providing shoes.
-Churches Helping Churches (Haiti)
*These organization already have great organized efforts to meet both the physical and spiritual needs in the world.
- Go to My prayer tonight is God first help me see the nations which you have brought around me in Uptown and then God provide a way for me to travel to some of the barefoot places in the world in order to proclaim your good news....Your salvation.
Gratefully Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church.