Posted by: The Simple Guy | May 3, 2011

Shoe Leather Theology

I have had a couple of intriguing conversations in the past week with a couple of young men.  The conversations were a few days apart, and with different guys, but related in my mind in a way.  Thought I would discuss the topic here with anyone who wants to help me flesh this idea out.  So “de-lurk” and be brave, I am looking for input here. (ht, grasshopper lady)

The first conversation was with a young man who just got a new job as an apprentice in a local metal working shop.  I asked him if he had any metal working experience, and he said he did not.  In fact, the boss didn’t want an experienced man, he wanted someone with integrity who could be taught, and selected this young man because he knew of him and had been watching him in the community.  We discussed the practicality of pursuing a godly life in manual labor.  I told him about how I have learned to worship God as a boiler operator.  Let me explain.  God made water.  We utilize various properties of water in the steaming field, and while we have discovered these properties, God invented them.  So as I have built a career in this field, I have regularly been in awe of the wonderful ideas God put in motion so that we could accomplish the things we do.  Combustion is the same way.  Electrical properties, the possibilities of control and programming in industrial electronic applications – we discover ideas God thought of in the first place and put into the realm of possibility.  I use these “moments of discovery” that happen as I learn to improve a process or solve a problem as an opportunity to praise Him for what He made and how He made it.  This has the unintended result of deflecting the “gloating” impulse in me.  I can’t glorify myself and Him at the same time.  It has been a good habit to fall back on.

I advised this young man to find joy in learning the intricacies of metal work, alloys, etc.  As he discovers these things, don’t forget to give glory to He to whom it is due.

The second conversation was with a sixteen year old guy who was concerned about how to control his thought life.  I talked to him about how we as men should use this powerful part of who we are as a tool for the Kingdom, rather than allowing it to be the “dark side” of our existence.  Rather than try to avoid noticing them, go ahead and notice a lady, and then pray for her.  Ask God to help her in her relationships, with her father, her Lord, her brothers and sisters, etc.  Pray for her school studies. Pray for her protetion and purity.  As we converse with them, listen for their needs that can be lifted up in prayer.  As we study scripture, look for the way Paul, Peter, and so on prayed for others and emulate this.

This takes a very powerful weapon out of the enemy’s hands and uses it against him.  I explained to him what I have learned in this regard.  I cannot have improper thoughts about a lady while I pray for her.  And what a powerful habit to be in!  This cancels out such a large area of temptation in my life, and turns what could be a negative into a positive.  I encouraged him to work at making this a habit in his life while he is still young, and that this could be a key in living a powerful life for his King.

I think the common denominator in these discussions was what I would call “shoe leather theology.”  I think as men we need to find ways to correctly introduce our Father into our daily lives.  We should find ways to take our God-given desires and use them to fulfill God’s desires for us.  We need to find ways to give God glory in our daily work.  I think this is part of what is meant in this verse:

Col 3:17 ESV
(17) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

So the input I am asking for from you who read this is:

What similar tips do you have for those who are younger than you that will help them in their “shoe leather theology”?  I think as we ask these kinds of questions, we can move our Christian walks from the cerebral to the physical, and experience more victory.  Jesus told us to make disciples as we are going,  so these types of discussions can be the beginning of how we put Christ out in front as we live, and bring His presence into our daily lives.

So what do you think?

Craig

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