Fireside: Do It Well; Do It Again

“Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.”

2 Corinthians 8:6

My oldest son’s job on Saturday evening is to clean and polish the men’s shoes for Sunday church.

It’s a handed-down preparatory ritual that is simple enough to do, yet wholly necessary. It is one of many things that draw our family’s attention toward the Lord’s Day, along with setting out clothes, preparing lessons, rehearsing music, and meditation and prayer.

“And your feet shod

with the preparation

of the gospel of peace.”

Ephesians 6:15

Everyone has a different job to do, and he is very eager to do his. To see him dutifully set aside time to shine the shoes is very fulfilling to this father’s heart.

I recall showing him what to do; wipe off the dust and dirt, then take a dab of polish on a clean rag and rub it around all over the outside leather. I remember making a big deal of how it should shine when he was all done.

Early one Sunday as I began to put on my brown shoes, I noticed a dull fog on the tongue leather instead of the normal polished sheen. A closer inspection discovered smudges, streaks, and some small clumps of leather conditioner. They had the right stuff on them, but they were far from finished.

I had instructed him on what to do, and I had approved of how he started. But like so many duties in life, he had only started, but not continued to perfection.

I saw a smudged reflection of myself in those shoes that morning.

I know what to apply, and how to apply truth to my life. I can also explain it and demonstrate it. But my life suffers the same lackluster results as those shoes. You can’t just rub it on once here and there, you’ve got to buff it in until it shines.

Brett McKay from presents it this way:

…This is one of the hardest of life’s irrevocable laws to accept, it is not the commencing of something that has any effect, but the persisting. Not the converting but the enduring. Not the dabbling around but the digging in.

Excerpt from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

“Repetition is the key to learning. Practice makes perfect” The old proverbs say. Passing the quiz, quoting the verse, delivering the outline, or giving counsel is easy- anyone can manage that once in awhile. But the shine comes when you do the same thing over and over again.

Buff it in. Don’t just rub it on.

“As ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1b

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