The One-Shoed Student

I really don’t understand students today. They claim they’re bored in class. I can’t comprehend that.You’re only bored when your heart is not in it. I remember once that I was almost bored. It was Springtime and the room was very warm—a classic scenario for boredom. But because I was looking for educational opportunities, I was rewarded.Barbara, who sat at the desk just in front of me, had taken off her shoes because of the heat. So, I “accidentally” dropped my pencil, then when I bent down to pick it up, I swiped one of her shoes.

So far, so good. I passed it to a friend, who passed it to someone else, who … well, you get the picture.

Finally, the bell rang, sounding the end of their misery for less motivated students. Several of those around Barbara hid their grins. She tried to slip on her shoes but, of course, one was missing. She looked for it but she understood what was up pretty quickly, and she appealed to a higher authority, our eight-grade teacher, Miss Mary.

“Miss Mary, someone took my shoe.” Many eyes fell upon me because of my geographical proximity to the crime (and my reputation). But friend, if ever an angel had a more innocent look on his face than I did that day, it would be a miracle.

“Miss Mary, I don’t have it.” Which was true. She didn’t ask how it disappeared. She asked who had it, and I didn’t know anymore. It wasn’t innocent me.

Finally, the patient teacher said, “Okay, who’s got it?” Someone a row or two over, towards the front, surrendered it. Miss Mary had a laugh and I think even Barbara did (it wasn’t the first time this sort of thing had happened to her).

My theory is that if you’re bored in class it’s just a lack of motivation and imagination.

(Attention! Don’t ever try this in a class where the teacher is a grouch. You might end up with a problem bigger than boredom!)

Do You Have A Shoe Missing?

Can I ask you something rather personal? Do you have any shoes missing? I have the feeling that the devil has slipped in and stolen some things that belong to us, just like I swiped Barbara’s shoe.

Part of Jesus’ legacy to his church was peace, peace with God and peace at the core of our being. “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” (from John 14–the Message)

But how often has the enemy stolen this from us?

Joy comes with the package—not just emotional joy but a joy from the Holy Spirit that’s a part of us.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22)

Yet depression often saps our life force. The devil has stolen our shoe and he’s over in the corner snickering about it.

So what do we do? Yell for the Teacher! “O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.” Ps. 141:1

And you know what He says to us a good percentage of the time? “Here’s my sword (the Word of God). You have my shield of faith, and the armor of my Spirit (Eph. 6). YOU go get it back!

“Hmmm… I was kind of hoping you would do it, Lord.”

It’s easy to lie there like a shivering mass of scared jello, but the Lord wants us to take the arms that he has given us and go take back the shoes the devil has stolen. Growth comes from combat.

Lost peace? Go get it! Stolen dreams, smashed joy, lost control, zero fruitfulness?????

Go get them back!

The shoe needs to be on the other foot—yours! God gave it to you.

Some of you pastors have confessed to using Coffee Stains ideas for messages and talks. What about taking this one and developing it in conjunction with Ruth 4:5-9? My former pastor, Jerry Van Horn, once preached a message called, “The Day the Lord Took the Shoes Off the Devil,” based on this passage. (Hint: Boaz=Christ and Ruth=the Church)

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