Shoeshine Man

Daily devotionalWhen it comes to serving one another, think of yourself as the shoeshine man.

We’ve all seen these guys in airports, train stations and downtown next to the newsstand. Their workplace usually consists of two or three elevated chairs on a platform so they can work at a comfortable level. The most upscale stations have plush leather-covered stuffed chairs and brass stands for your feet that put your shoes out where the shiner can work around them easily. Shining shoes is a servant’s position that bears images of a happy-go-lucky soul, snapping his polishing cloth over shiny wing tips while cracking jokes or singing along with the radio.

A successful businessman, of course, would identify with the guy on the throne, never the one shining shoes. And yet, were Jesus here today, He would point to the shoeshine man as being the one to emulate. It’s the closest thing in our society to what Jesus did when he washed the disciples feet, and then He told them to go and do the same. He lowered Himself to a servant’s status, and then proceeded to meet the needs of those around Him.

Serving others begins with how I see myself. Paul said, “So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s secrets” (1 Corinthians 4:1 NLT). “Mere servants.” I can’t serve without first seeing myself as a servant. If being a shoeshine man seems too demeaning, I may need to rethink my calling and purpose in life, because a big part of that purpose is to serve others instead of being served.

Servants always look up to those around them. That’s the other part of this image that works with Christ’s foot-washing example. This whole arrangement puts me down and the other person up. For the shoeshine man, the customer is the V.I.P. The customer is on the throne in the plush seat.

My purpose as a follower of Christ is to put others on the throne instead of insisting on being there myself. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is a radical redistribution of power and position.

So remember today, you’re a servant. You don’t need recognition – you don’t need attention – because it’s not about you… or me… it’s about the people we serve. And when we forget… just remember the shoeshine man.

– By John Fischer

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