Don’t put your foot in every shoe

Published 10:05 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

By Dr. Chris Surber

There is one sure and certain fact concerning the gift of life. One day, all that will be left of it is an empty box and crumpled wrapping paper. We all die.

You can run a thousand marathons. You can eat gluten-free muffins for breakfast and kale salads for dinner, but as my secretary is fond of reminding me when I’m sweating the small stuff, “You go’n die someday!”

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This is her way of snapping me back to reality from my whining about things that, in light of eternity, don’t matter. I like the way Joshua put it in the book of the Bible that bears his name. “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.” (Joshua 23:14a NKJV)

That entire chapter of the Bible is the record of the great military, spiritual and state leader giving his final charge to his subordinate leaders on the eve of his death.

You and I will one day go the way of all the earth, as well. Some people escape poverty. Some people escape the worst forms of discomfort during their life. Nobody escapes death.

The knowledge of our mortality shouldn’t fill us with fear or despair. I’m convinced it is the only thing that has the power, the authority, to grant us the gift of perspective.

What possible good can come from fretting the finer details of the weeds in my garden when I could simply stand in awe of the beauty of the fading flower? The average person has 2,228,800,000 seconds to live on this earth. That is a big number, but those moments are precious few.

The wise elderly people of Haiti say, “Don’t put your foot in every shoe.” This proverb means, “Don’t meddle in things that aren’t your business.” In their cultural context, they’re saying, “Keep your hand to the plow and don’t look back.”

Focus on the task at hand. You’re going to die someday, and while you are on this earth, wear your own shoe well, rather than concerning yourself with a thousand other shoes.

Today, right now, you have work that has been assigned to you. Put on your shoes and walk the path appointed for you. We get just one life, just one opportunity to walk our path. We can waste it, or we can live it faithfully to bring honor to the one who gave it to us.

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV)

Life is a gift wrapped up in 2 billion moments to glorify the gift giver. I don’t know about you, but when my path is done, I’d rather arrive at the celestial gate with just one pair of very well-worn shoes.

The Rev. Dr. Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church. Email him at