shine ’em up

About five years ago, I read an online devotional called “Shoeshine Man” by John Fischer, which described the similarities between the Shoeshine and Jesus washing the disciples feet.  It immediately brought to mind a picture of how I looked at myself when I was walking through airports and train stations, suited up and carrying my briefcase full of computer gadgets (things I think of as my “electronic umbilical cord”) on my way to close a piece of business in Atlanta, or Boston, or who knows where.  It made me reflect on how I viewed, and treated people in various service industries, from the shoeshine to the restaurant server, to the chamber maid working her way down the hallway in my hotel, cart full of linens and little soaps, to clean up after me and all the other travelers out there.

I realized that I often take those services for granted, and that I need to concentrate more on putting myself in that role of servant to those I work with.  Do I apply the attitude of Jesus in my day to day business dealings?  Can I take on the “feet washing” activities, the ones that get no recognition, but have to be done?  The ones that build up my colleagues and customers, rather than myself?

I wrote the following to encourage any traveler out there to look at what you do and compare it to the servant heart that Jesus showed us all in His ministry.  And ask Him for the ability to serve in whatever way possible, with a towel if necessary.

Shine for You

There’s a man on the concourse at Grand Central Station

Three raised, padded chairs, and no one waiting in line

I am on my way to catch a train, but I have to look my best

For the CEOs I’m meeting at the club downtown

So I stop for a quick polish.  I climb up to my throne

With a smile on his face and a song on his lips

The man begins to do what he does best – he begins to make me shine

The tools of his trade are so simple

A little cream, a spray bottle, brush, and cloth

But it’s the strength that he has in his hands and in his heart

That will make the biggest difference in my day

Shine for me so I can go about my way

Help me look my best for those who wait to hear my words

I measure my success in life by the orders in my bag

But my emptiness lingers as I still desire to be the man on top

I look down at him from my lofty perch and wonder to myself

Can you polish up my heart with that old rag?

He asks about the weather

Talks about his daughter

Who lives with her husband in L.A.

He lost his wife a few years back

But his smile doesn’t fade

He says, “It won’t be long before I’ll see her again.”

The tools of his trade are so simple

A cheerful smile, a place to rest, and of course that ever-present cloth

It never stops its motion, as he shares the love of Jesus

That will make the biggest difference in my life

As I bow before You, Lord and offer up my heart in praise

Give me the grace to kneel before my fellow man

With strength to take the cloth that is Your Word in my own hands

And shine for you

©Dan Furnald 2006 (based on John 13:1-17)

2 thoughts on “shine ’em up

  1. Wonderful! I am sending this to our pastor. We are going to be doing
    Farmville First beginning of October. This is an outreach to the neighborhood to just “do for people” . We cut wood and deliver to those who need it, wash windows, Uncle Lou and I do hot dogs on grills and give out free to people at a local car dealer, sweep local streets, etc. This devotion fits right in! Be blessed. We miss you…until next time. Love you Uncle Lou and Aunt Arleen

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