Articles by Stan Dean

Reflections From A Shoeshine

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A few nights ago I pulled out an old box that I keep stowed away in my closet that holds all my brushes, polish and shining rags for upkeep on my leather shoes. As I sat there getting lost in Kiwi world I was reminded of a story I once read in Reader’s Digest that made a positive impression on me about serving others.

In brief, the story was related of a family that had received the sad news that a family member had died who lived out-of-town. Thus, they were in a scramble trying to make arrangements to leave for a few days to attend the funeral. They had to contact employers, schools, postpone appointments, and seemingly a thousand other things.

The mother then tells of a specific act of kindness that left its mark during that time and would never be forgotten. In the midst of this whirlwind of events, the doorbell rang. When she answered the door a neighbor was standing there with a shoeshine kit in his hand. He announced, “I came to shine your shoes.” He went on to explain that his family once was faced with a similar situation and one of the things he remembered vividly is that all his kid’s shoes needed to be polished to look presentable for the occasion.


She said he came in and sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and polished every family member’s shoes. The mother said the neighbor was right. Their shoes were scuffed and scarred and truly needed to be polished. But looking back on that day, it was the thoughtfulness and humble act of service that outshined the newly buffed footwear.


When our neighbors and friends are faced with similar circumstances, we often wonder what we can do. Many often give money or send flowers and certainly these can be appropriate. But there could also be a “shoeshine” job that may seem small to us, but may be large to those experiencing difficulties. Perhaps the lawn needs to be mowed. Maybe the house needs to be cleaned. There may possibly be pets that need to be feed while he owners are out of town. Knowing that such things are taken care of can surely help lighten a heavy burden during such times.


God takes note of those who “shine shoes” also! Jesus said, “Whoever gives one of these little ones a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:48).


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