[Papercut Press] 2001-06-21 - Footprints

Matthew 25:14-30 And the one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, "Master, you entrusted five talents to me; see, I have gained five more talents." Matthew 25:20

On my days off this year, I have been heading for the beach. The ocean is a place of wonder. I have always loved the ocean. When I was growing up, my family would vacation at Cape Cod, and I used to love to play in the water for hours, catching crabs and digging for treasure.

The sea is also full of interest because it is a museum of curious things. Sadly, as I have walked along the beach this year, I am amazed at all the trash I find washed up on the shore. But there are other things that wash up also. In addition to shells and expired sea life, sometimes one can find a living object of curiosity. Yesterday, I found a crab, alive, that was about two inches round. He only had one claw, but it was almost the size of his body. As I bent down to pick him up, he let me know that I ought to think better of messing with him, as he valiantly stood his ground.

As I walk along the beach and leave my footprints, I am often reminded of the popular story many Christians cherish, called "Footprints in the Sand." It is a neat story, but as I watch my footprints disappear and the tide comes in, I began to think that there is one flaw in this story. As we walk with Christ, we labor to do more than leave footprints in the sand that will quickly be washed away. Our walking with Christ has a more lasting significance than simply leaving something in the sand. Maybe we ought to think of a new title for the story such as, "Footprints in wet cement." It loses something with that title, but I hope you get where I have drifted.

Living the Christian life is different for each of us, as we all have gifts that vary. We may not all be able to preach like Billy Graham, or serve like that woman in the church who never misses an opportunity to deliver a hot meal to someone in need. We might not be able to give money away like others can, but one thing we all can do. We can do our best to serve Christ with the talents and gifts that He has blessed us with. It might seem like our contribution is "small potatoes," but by doing our part, the body of Christ is strengthened.

I notice a lot of children building castles in the sand. Some are magnificent and others are fairly pathetic. What I notice is that when several children get together to build a sand castle, the size and magnitude of it is generally more than when one child is working on his own little creation. I notice that some children are able to do more than others, usually because of age. As one of the older children fine-tunes the details of the creation, a smaller child might simply be called upon to fill up the moat. But the truth is that he is still contributing and he is still doing something that needs to be done by someone.

It is no different in the church. There is work to be done. There are some that may be more skilled in detail work, but someone still has to sweep or make coffee, or take the trash out. OK, not so glamorous, I know, but there is always something to be done. If your gifts are not in physical duties -- great -- we need people who will pray for the church, its leaders, and its ministries. There is always room in Christ's church for both moat-fillers and for detail workers. And I suppose it really doesn't matter what we do since we are called to only seek God's glory and not seek glory for ourselves. (Matthew 23:2-12 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11) In so doing and serving Christ, even those who feel they have limited gifts can still be those who leave footprints in wet cement.

Soli Deo Gloria,