Bryce has grown out of the Velcro shoe stage. I don’t mean that he’s “too cool” for Velcro –I mean, they literally don’t make many Velcro options in his size anymore!
Last Spring I bought him a pair of “lace up” sneakers. So, over the past few months I have been tying his shoes for him –every time thinking, “one of these days I’m going to teach him to do this for himself.” That day finally came.
We had some extra time one afternoon, so I decided to begin the “shoe tying 101” course. How hard could it be –right?
To be honest, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve tried to teach anybody. I tried the bunny ears method, then I tried to just coach him move by move, then I tried guiding his fingers with my fingers. What a challenge! I was tempted several times to go online and do more searches for “big boy Velcro shoes,” but instead I stuck it out. I wanted to make sure Bryce knew how to tie a tight knot that would stay tied. Why? Because knowing how to tie your shoes is important.
You see, if you don’t know how to tie your shoes, you can’t pass kindergarten, play sports, or get a job (especially at a shoe store). And, most likely, if you can’t tie your shoes, you can give up on getting married too!
Am I blowing this out of proportion? Am I making too much out of something so elementary? I don’t think so. In fact, I think we all need to be reminded that the “basics” lay foundations for life –and a good foundation is crucial for building upon. Likewise, a poor foundation can make building impossible.
The same is true for churches trying to help believers grow in Christ. In our efforts to teach the deeper things of Scripture (which I am completely in favor of) we must not forget that newer believers need a good foundation –especially if they did not grow up hearing the Word taught.
We need to take time to discuss God’s attributes. We need to explain that He is Holy and completely righteous. We should make clear how offensive our sin is to God and how much we need a Savior.
We ought to be sure that our people know that each person of the Trinity is fully God at the same time. We need to explain why Christ is described as the Lamb and why He shed His blood.
We need to make sure our congregations trust the authority of the Word of God and understand that it is inspired and inerrant.
As I was teaching Bryce to tie his shoes, I became frustrated because he didn’t catch on instantly. If we aren’t careful, the same thing can happen to us as we teach foundational truths. We can easily become frustrated with believers who don’t “get it” yet. But the nature of the gospel calls us to be patient and never grow weary of sharing the powerful foundations of our faith.
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Oh, and there was another reason I got frustrated teaching Bryce to tie his shoes. As I was trying to verbalize the tying process, I realized just how much I took my shoe-tying-skills for granted –to the extent that I could hardly put together one intelligible sentence of instruction!
For many of us, it’s been so long since we have revisited the basics, that we may find out we have forgotten or taken for granted some wonderful truths. In fact, it might be just as beneficial for us to revisit the basics as it is for those who are hearing them for the very first time. In other words, the “basics” aren’t just for new believers. We all find our shoes untied from time to time and have to stop and re-tie.
Praise God for the new believers who cause us to revisit the basics. In our ministry to them, they mutually minster to us by causing us to keep our spiritual shoes tied tight. That’s a great way to keep from tripping!