While the recent commercials from The Good Feet Store are amusing, I still find them instructive. The store’s representative ends one advertisement by saying, “I helped a person deal with a problem he’s suffered with for thirty years. How do you not go home and talk about that?”
We talk about what helps. I have a friend who recently purchased some shoe inserts that delivered him from a great deal of pain. He is able to effectively walk again; and though he knows most people don’t normally want to talk about podiatric care, he just can’t help himself. He has to share his joy at finding relief.
Christian witness is like this. Christ shares our grief in a way that makes our burdens meaningful. As the woman on the commercial asks, “How do you not go home and talk about that?”
Most people appreciate their friends sharing with them what helps. It’s the impersonal street preachers doing bad impersonations of John the Baptist who give Christian evangelism a bad rap. I have been shocked by the insensitivity these types sometimes display toward race fans who are just trying to enjoy a day at the track. I understand there’s always been some lude behavior that sometimes accompanies the race, but I’m more offended by representatives of the Christian faith who do far more to dampen the party by defensively airing grievances rather than joyfully sharing help.
I’d much rather have street preachers this May performing something like Bob Dillon’s When the Ship Comes In. The folk song celebrates the hope that uncaring systems will not ultimately win over us. That’s not mere proselytizing; that’s just suggesting someone try good medicine. In Isaiah’s day, God sent messengers to announce that Assyrian overlords would not oppress people forever. This kind of hope can help. And most people appreciate someone trying to offer hope, even if they choose not to pay much attention. It is as God says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those people” who are just trying to share what helps them—“who bring good news.” (Isaiah 52:7)