Dirty Shoes

Dirty shoes on a door mat that says, "Please Remove Your Shoes"

Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely” P.J. O’Rourke

When I was 14 years of age, I had a friend named Tommy. Tommy and I spent a lot of time together outdoors doing what 14 years old boys like to do-riding bikes, building forts, running through the woods, fishing in nearby ponds, all of which resulted in getting very dirty.

When Tommy would come visit at my house, we would often barrel in from our latest adventure through the back door and into the kitchen for a cool glass of water to replenish what the mid-afternoon summer sun had extracted from us. Without exception, there would always be dirt on our shoes that would find a resting place on my mom’s floor- sand, mud, and sometimes “other” deposits from our yellow lab, Holly. Mom would occasionally sigh, but mostly she would just quietly and lovingly clean up behind us.

When I went to play at Tommy’s house, things were a little different. We would always have to remove our shoes before we entered, no matter how clean they might be. Tommy would always remind me of his mom’s rule as we were about to enter his house by saying, “Mom will kill us both is we get dirt on her floor!” I never had my shoes on in Tommy’s house. I liked Tommy and his family, but I never really felt “at home” there.

Home was where my mom accepted me just the way I was-dirt and all. It was the place where I didn’t have to be clean before I entered her presence. It was the place where she cleaned me up and cleaned up my messes, then sent me back into a world of adventure.

Jesus made it a practice to seek out people who had dirt on their spiritual shoes. At a well in Sychar, Samaria, Jesus met a woman right where she was – dirty shoes and all. He was on His way to Galilee with His disciples coming from Judea. Tired from the journey, Jesus sat down by a well for rest and replenishment from the Middle Eastern heat. There he encountered an “unclean” woman. A woman who had struggled greatly with relationships (five husbands and still counting) with very few prospects for an improved life, that is, until she met Jesus (John 4:1-42).

Jesus engaged her in conversation, something unheard of for a Jewish male to do and something the woman’s own community was not doing (What should we learn from the woman at the well?). He showed her love, acceptance, and He shared with her a way of hope for a better life. Jesus gave her something she was desperately in need of – “living water”- the kind that doesn’t follow the same old wash, rinse, and repeat cycle. The kind that wells up from within- a spring- that cleans dirt from the shoes of our past, the mud we’re tracking now, and all the grime and grit that we are sure to pick up until our adventure on planet earth concludes.

My mom and Jesus had a few things in common. Just like my mom, Jesus accepts you and me just the way we are. We don’t have to remove our dirty shoes before we enter His presence. He is the one who gives us living water and sends us back into the common, everyday world to live an adventurous life and to tell others where to get this same water. He has already reconciled our past, (1 John 1:9; cleansed us from ALL of our unrighteousness), empowers our present (Philippians 4:13) and secures our future (1 John 14:3).

Tommy and I could never get our shoes clean enough for his mom, so we just had to remove them. We can never get our shoes clean enough for Jesus either. But, He’s already cleaned them for us (John 3:16). We can enter His presence with confidence that any dirt that falls from our shoes will be swept away by an act of God!

Are you living life feeling like your shoes are too dirty for God to accept you? At Crossway we love to teach people how much God really does love and accept us. If you are in need of complete acceptance and love please give us a call. Someone would love to talk with you!