Church Shoes

Author Unknown


I showered and shaved, I adjusted my tie.

I got there and sat in a pew just in time.

Bowing my head in prayer, as I closed my eyes.

I saw the shoe of the man next to me touching my own, I sighed.


‘With plenty of room on either side,’ I thought,

‘Why must our soles touch?’

It bothered me, his shoe touching mine.

But it didn’t bother him much.


A prayer began; ‘Our Father. ‘I thought,

‘This man with the shoes, has no pride.

‘They’re dusty, worn, and scratched.

‘Even worse, there are holes on the side!’


‘Thank You for blessings,’ the prayer went on.

The shoe man said a quiet ‘Amen.’

I tried to focus on the prayer but my thoughts were on his shoes again.


Aren’t we supposed to look our best when walking through that door?

‘Well, this certainly isn’t it,’ I thought, glancing toward the floor.

Then the prayer was ended and the songs of praise began

The shoe man was certainly loud, sounding proud as he sang.


His voice lifted the rafters. His hands were raised high.

The Lord could surely hear the shoe man’s voice from the sky.

It was time for the offering and what I threw in was steep.

I watched as the shoe man reached into his pockets so deep.


I saw what was pulled out, what the shoe man put in.

Then I heard a soft ‘clink’ as when silver hits tin.

The sermon really bored me to tears, and that’s no lie.

It was the same for the shoe man, for tears fell from his eyes.


At the end of the service, as is the custom here,

We must greet new visitors and show them all good cheer.

But I felt moved somehow and wanted to meet the shoe man.

So, after the closing prayer I reached over and shook his hand.


He was old and his skin was dark, and his hair was truly a mess.

But I thanked him for coming, for being our guest.

He said, ‘My name is Charlie; I’m glad to meet you, my friend.’

There were tears in his eyes, but he had a large, wide grin.


‘Let me explain,’ he said, wiping tears from his eyes.

‘I’ve been coming here for months and you are the first to say ‘Hi.’

I know that my appearance is not like all the rest.

‘But I really do try to always look my best.


‘I always clean and polish my shoes before my very long walk.

‘But by the time I get here they are dirty and dusty, like chalk.’

My heart filled with pain and I swallowed to hide my tears.

As he continued to apologize for daring to sit so near.


He said, ‘When I get here, I know I must look a sight.’

‘But I thought if I could touch you then maybe our souls might unite.’

I was silent for a moment, knowing whatever was said

Would pale in comparison. I spoke from my heart, not my head.


‘Oh, you have touched me,’ I said, ‘And taught me, in part

‘That the best of any man is what is found in his heart.’

The rest, I thought, this shoe man will never know.

Like just how thankful I really am that his dirty old shoe touched my soul.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2










  1. Reply
    Alice Anderson says

    Oh my gosh, so touching. I am sending this to so many. Now if people would just learn from this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Reply
    Linda Scheideler says

    Love that, thanks Chris. I know sometimes I am guilty of judging even though I try not too.

  3. Reply
    Carolyn Keefer says

    Thank you for sharing this, Chris! Such a good reminder to me that you never really know throughout the day who will touch your life in an amazing way! And perhaps you will touch theirs too!

  4. Reply
    Yvette Wyatt says

    Chris thank you for this illustration of the love Jesus is hopeful we will show to those he puts within our reach. Certainly it would be a blessing to carry it beyond this moment of reading and into tomorrow. Well, with the strength of Jesus, all is possible.

  5. Reply
    Carol Landon says

    Thank you, Chris! A touching reminder of loving everyone in spite of their appearance …we are all children of God ✝️

  6. Reply
    Bev Turner says

    Beautiful, and a reminder to not judge a person’s appearance! Thank you, Chris.

  7. Reply
    Alice Anderson says

    How heartwarming! I forwarded to friends on east coast.

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