Not to gross anyone out, but my feet are a little messed up. Due to a genetic condition, my toes turn out at an angle from the rest of my foot, causing my pinky toe to get squashed into the side of my shoes. I’d like to think that this condition – which keeps me from running as fast as others – absolves me from getting exercise, but I’m pretty sure that the latter is my own fault!
I think that people either like feet or they don’t like them. Fancy sandals and toenail polish are why some girls look forward to the summer. On the other hand, dealing with smelly sweat socks is another problem entirely! Usually, I focus on protecting and covering up my feet (unlike my wife, who can walk across a stick-littered lawn or a toy-cluttered floor without cringing), but I also enjoy taking my shoes off at the end of a long work day.
Have a look at this verse:
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Romans 10:15 NLT
Despite the prevalence of cars, bikes, planes, buses, trains, and scooters, walking is still a pretty common way of getting around in our world. Whether we have tough feet or soft feet, most people end up walking for at least part of their day, just to get to where they need to be. (For those who can’t walk, don’t tune this verse out, though. I think that it applies to all of us who know the good news about Jesus.)
I don’t read this verse as saying that those who share the message of Jesus somehow qualify to become foot models (perhaps the “after” picture for a fungicide commercial?). I’m pretty sure that the physical feet of people who bring good news (about both salvation and an abundant life) to others are often calloused, dirty, sore, and bruised. But, what they do is a beautiful thing: bringing a means of rescue to those who are in sin’s captivity, providing encouragement to the suffering, and sharing hope with the dejected. What could be a better expression of love than to aid one’s fellow human being in understanding his or her purpose, along with a message about being restorated back to the ideal relationship for which we were created?
In the same way, our physical appearance isn’t what matters most when we show the love of Jesus to others in other ways. When someone brings water to a thirsty friend, or hands a plate of hot food to someone who has been freezing and hungry in the cold, it doesn’t matter very much what the server looks like, or how they are dressed. Likewise, we shouldn’t shy away from stepping up to do good deeds when we don’t feel attractive, or popular, or dressed for the occasion. In fact, some forms of service (like helping a neighbor fight back against encroaching weeds and brambles) are almost certain to leave us sweaty, dirty, and not ready to walk down a fancy red carpet at a Hollywood gala. The very act of service is what is beautiful.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Matthew 25:34-39 NLT
So, don’t let your self-image get in the way of serving others (serving them with love and compassion, like Jesus did). You don’t have to own a new pair of flip-flops, have a picture-perfect smile, or even sport a trendy wardrobe, in order to love other people. Just because attractive people may catch the spotlight, there is real beauty in sharing the word (with deeds) about a new life in Jesus Christ.