“One day down in Mobile, Alabama, I entered a shoeshine parlor on a busy street. One of the boys decided to serve me, and as I took my seat he began industriously to brush my shoes, talking as he worked. He was a pleasant, good-natured boy of about twelve. I asked him about his work and his ambitions.
“How do you like your job, son?” I ventured.
“It is not bad, but I am not going to shine shoes all my life.”
“What are you going to do?” I asked next, to which the boy replied:
“Well, I had five things in mind I wanted to do, but now I have decided on just one of them. I am going to be a doctor. It is a wonderful profession.”
“I don’t want to pry into your business, but have you saved anything toward your expense when you get to medical school?” I was very much surprised when he gave me a quick, positive answer with a smile:
“Yes, sir, eighteen hundred dollars. I have been saving my money.”
I was glad to add my tip to that reserve fund he was building up.” (Original story by C. L. Paddock).
Christians can learn a lot from that twelve-year-old boy who shined shoes with a smile:
He had a goal. Near the end of his life, Paul wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The goal of every Christian is to see Christ, crown in hand, waiting to receive you into eternity.
He was saving up. During the sermon on the mount, Jesus said: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Christians recognize that all earthly treasure will pass away, and so we save up something greater. Our treasure is found in the salvation of lost souls, ours and all those around us. Store up that greatest of treasures for eternity (Luke 16:9).
He was working hard. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2). There is no shortage of work for Christians who yet live on this earth. As Paul wrote, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Let’s always actively prepare for that final meeting with our Lord by seeking the greatest of treasures, lost souls who may be brought to Christ, and may our eyes always see the work that lays before us and take advantage of every opportunity to share our faith in Christ with those who may be seeking Him. And of course always, ALWAYS, remember to smile!
Eli Schnell is the Youth and Family Minister at the Northwest Church of Christ
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135