The other day a man came up to me on a Sunday morning, meeting me at the back door after worship serivce - and he looked down. I initially thought he was upset, so, I put my arm around him and I asked, "what's wrong, my friend?" "Nothing," he said, "I am just looking at your shoes. They're nice." Over the years I have gotten used to the fact that my wardrobe as a pastor, especially on Sunday mornings is an appropriate subject for public discourse. So, I responded by saying, "they are new...I think they are called Mephistos." A look of horror and shock came over his entire aspect. "They're called Mehpistos?" he gasped - his face looking like the the man who peered straight into the ark of the covenant in the first Indiana Jones movie. I couldn't have made my poor friend more upset if I had threatened to sell his children into slavery. "Don't you know what 'Mephistos' means? It means Devils. You are wearing shoes called 'Devil Shoes.' How can you call yourself a good pastor?" With that he walked away in disgust and incredulity.
Now, the truth be told, I didn't know what the brand of shoe that I had recently purchased meant. I had simply purchased a pair of shoes that fit nicely and that worked for me. But the more I thought about my shoes, the more I worried about them. Maybe I shouldn't have a pair of shoes called Mephistos. Maybe my ministry would be less effective, and my power as a preacher-teacher would be diminished, with this pair of shoes in my wardrobe. Maybe the end of my ministry was eminent. I wondered if Nordstroms, where I had bought the shoes still had an adequate return policy. (Did I mention that I am occasionally superstitious? - must come from my Scottish mother...). But then, I came up with a brain wave.
* # 1 - I don't think it really matters. They're just shoes.
* #2 - If it did matter, my God would be bigger than the name on my shoes.
* #3 - most important, I enjoyed the the thought that every Sunday, while I was proclaiming the Word, while I was giving my weekly message of the Good News, while I was striving to channel the will and the thoughts of the Holy Spirit, while I was preaching, while I was wearing these shoes, I would actually be WALKING ON DEVILS. Graham Baird - "Devil Treader", what a nick name!!
The Bible says, "You have been made a little lower than God, and crowned with glory and honor. You have been given dominion over the work of your hands; GOD HAS PUT ALL THINGS UNDER YOUR FEET." (Psalm 8:5-6).
One of the things I continually forget as a pastor, as a Christ follower, is that my authority (and yours) is the same authority that Jesus gave to the disciples of his day and age; "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." (Matt. 10:7) What Jesus was saying to his disciples, and to us, is that there is literally nothing to be afraid of; not in heaven or hell. More than that - not only are we not to be afraid, but we are to tread on the things that work opposite to God's ultimate plans. In this verse, Jesus is recognizing the existence of opposite powers, opposite influences, opposing leanings, contrary opinions, counter productive thoughts from God's plans. He is recognizing the existence of Mephistos. And he is, at the same time, empowering the disciples to walk over them, to deem them for the lesser things that they really are, and proclaim, through the power of the Spirit something bigger, something stronger, something more hopeful, something more loving and something more powerful.
Walking on Devils is...no pun intended...part of the Christian WALK
So, for now, I will keep my Mephistos and, at Highlands Church every Sunday, I will walk on Devils, and even more loudly - offer Good News of Jesus Christ, which puts all things under my feet!
All for Now,