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Shoe Shining, Excellence, and the Glory of God

I have a confession to make. I’m mystified by shoe shiners. It never fails. I’m a notorious people watcher as it is, so when you add it to my interest in these tradesmen applying their craft to make dull footwear regain its lustre, witnessing it is something I can lose myself in. Shoe shiners feel old-world in a good way – remnants of a bygone era where the work is literally “hands on” and is as much art than science.

Then there are times where the act of shoe shining is very much art over science. Take Pierre-Paul, a self-described Maitre Cireur or Master Shoe Shine from France. I was mesmerized watching this gentleman not just shine shoes but to do so with such grace, dignity and artistry. (He literally uses art brushes) It reminded me of the words of Martin Luther, “A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God.” This is a fine example of common grace and the glory of vocation. Pierre-Paul serves as a good reminder that even shining shoes can be done with such excellence that it lifts the work itself from being seen as the merely mundane. Oh to the make the ordinary more beautiful. Common grace indeed.

Watch and ask yourself how you can do what you do with such excellence that it glorifies not only the work or the worker, but the God who stands over both?

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

1 thought on “Shoe Shining, Excellence, and the Glory of God”

  1. some of my fondest memories are of watching my dad shine his combat boots… and his cowboy boots.

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