Shoes are fun and functional! I know lots of people just love buying shoes, for others of us it is just a chore, and as long as we have shoes on our feet we don’t go looking for more. So I have never quite ‘got’ the significance of us having our ‘feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.’ Ephesians 6:15. Why did the Holy Spirit singled out our feet in this way, surely sharing the gospel is about what is on our hearts and in our mouths?
Then I got to thinking again. Although today many people tend to wear trainers whatever they are doing, generally speaking, shoes signify what we are about to do. As a child I just loved my ballet shoes, but never had any tap shoes…..didn’t want to go to tap dancing class! If I’m putting on my boots, the dog knows it’s time for a walk in the woods, and when we were in Finland, we didn’t put on snow shoes until we were in the snow. (N.B. It’s just impossible to get up when you fall over in snow shoes – makes you realise how important it is to be able to bend your foot at the toes!!!)
Shoes speak of the business that we are about, so putting a ‘readiness to share the gospel of peace’ on our feet, gives notice to the enemy what we are about. We are under orders from our ‘Prince of Peace’ to be prepared, even eager, to bring His peace wherever we go. Now that is intriguing, when we also hear Jesus asking the question, “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on the earth? No I tell you, but division.” And then He describes a family divided against itself, numerically and generationally. Luke 12:51-53. I think that Jesus was signaling that the peace He brings is not ‘peace at any price’, and not to be surprised that some may say no.
So what of us? What are we meant to be doing with our feet shod with the readiness to share ‘gospel of peace’ in this way? I think He is primarily asking us, in speaking peace to people, to draw them into a place where they can find lasting ‘peace with God’ through the Gospel. So when Jesus sent out the seventy He gave them specific instructions, ‘When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” If a man of Peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not it will return to you.’ He then gives them instructions about eating with those who receive that peace, healing their sick and then sharing with them that “The Kingdom of God is near you”. Luke 10:6-11. i.e. Letting them know that the peace and healing come from Jesus. It ‘s what He does.
At the same time Jesus also gave them instructions about leaving a place that did not receive this message of peace and healing. So Jesus knows that, in spite of the fact that the Gospel is such incredibly good news, we are not going to be welcomed everywhere. Nevertheless, our start point is always to go to people with a heart to bless and impart peace. I like that! It gives me confidence that when I talk to someone about the Lord, I am carrying God’s peace, and so I therefore have something wonderful to offer them, ‘Peace with God’.
It was the message that the angels brought to those first shepherds. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests’. Those shepherds responded so quickly and got so blessed, and that’s how I want to share the good news with people this Christmas. The story of Christmas is ‘good news of great joy that will be for all people’. Luke 2:10,14. I can only ‘offer’ that peace, knowing that it may or may not be received, but if I’m thrilled about it, and not embarrassed, then surely others might become curious and want to know more.
A while ago now, when feeling that I wasn’t doing much sharing of my faith, I felt that the Lord encouraged me that it could be fun!! Perhaps we are back to my original sentence. May be these ‘Gospel shoes’ can be shoes that are fun and functional! I think that for me, thanking God that I have ‘good news’, ‘tidings of great joy’, and that my feet are ‘fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace’ helps me to become ever more confident to enjoy sharing my faith, in an increasingly hostile world, and then to leave the outcome with the Lord.