Sunday, our pastor challenged us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our giving, not just in church, but every day. At the end of his message he showed a short video clip of the church’s clothing closet. The video explained how the clothes and shoes were gifted to the homeless and needy. After scanning over racks and racks of clothes, the camera showed a close up of what was missing—shoes. Pastor then asked the congregation to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit about if they were supposed to help supply shoes. Everyone who felt led, was encouraged to go and place the shoes they were wearing at the altar and leave with “beautiful feet”–feet that were bare from giving from the heart. I prayed, but I did not feel led. As the shoes piled up at the front, I continued to ask God if I were to give my shoes and searched my heart for selfishness. Instead of gifting the 4″ stiletto boots I was wearing, I felt to go home and bag up some of my other shoes and gift them later.
That is when the old religious spirit with which I used to be cloaked, once again tried to wrap itself around me. “I am going to gift quite a few pairs of shoes,” I thought to myself. “But I am not walking out in bare feet or socks. My feet will not look beautiful. They will look selfish. I started to feel ashamed.
Let me interject, I think the giving of the shoes was a God inspired idea. A legitimate need was met. But as with everything God does, it’s more about hearts than feet.
I’m sure everyone who placed their shoes on the altar left more than their shoes. Some probably left greed. Some probably left pride. Some probably left fear or a poverty spirit. Some just left the sweet fragrance of sacrifice. Most, probably also left with more than they gave as they experienced joy, peace, freedom, and hope. For some, it would not be a sacrifice at all. They could easily buy another pair. For others it might have been their widow’s mite.
There were probably also a few people who gifted their shoes out of guilt or the fear of man. Their bare or socked feet would have looked just as beautiful to those around them as those who gave from pure hearts, even though, they would have left with the same pride that they had when they walked into the building earlier. Only God would know the difference.
Then there were other people, like me, who kept their shoes on. I am sure each of them have a story as well. Some probably walked out in confidence and peace knowing that they had done or were about to do what God had called them to do. Some might have walked out perturbed that they were put on the spot. Some might have walked out in disobedience because they told God, “No,” when He told them to give their shoes. Some might have walked out in greed. There were probably even a few who walked out in pride like I did because they were concerned about what others thought of their apparent lack of sacrifice, or more importantly—their hardness of heart.
Later that afternoon, as I was bagging up shoes to gift, I started thinking about the phrase “beautiful feet.”
If I had placed my shoes on the altar that morning, I would not have left with beautiful feet, because I would have been walking in disobedience. But since I was walking in pride and the approval of man, I still didn’t leave with beautiful feet. God didn’t call me to leave my shoes at the altar, but He did call me to lay down my pride, which especially became apparent when I felt I had to explain myself to my family.
So what are beautiful feet?
Beautiful feet are feet that stand in confidence of God’s love and their identity in Christ. Beautiful feet are not perfect, but purposed. They purpose to walk in obedience, peace, surrender and sacrifice. They walk in compassion, freedom, and blessing. They bring salvation, hope, and healing. They walk in love, as they bless their families, friends, strangers—and even their enemies. As I continued to think about having beautiful feet, I once again, removed my shoes of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, pride, and fear, especially the fear of man, and laid them on an unseen altar. After putting on the shoes of love and peace, I stood, and walked out of the room with my now bare “beautiful feet”–feet that purpose to walk in the footsteps of a Jesus.
Yes, Lord, give us “beautiful feet”—feet that are moved by a beautiful heart—your heart!
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15 KJV)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the one who brings news of peace, who announces good things, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7).