Theodore Goodman was born into a family of shoemakers and it is said that his first possession was an exquisite pair of booties fashioned by his father. While Teddy was growing up, he spent as much time in his father’s cobbler shop as he did at school or home. As time went on, Teddy learned and excelled in the passion of his forefathers and became a master shoemaker. Ultimately, with the blessing of his parents, T. Goodman opened his own cobbler shop and crowds of people looking for the best in shoe-making came to sample his wares. Goodman, strange as it was, not only made shoes, though; he also taught others how to make shoes.
Before long, Goodman purchased a large building which allowed a great number of skilled shoemakers to continue providing the community with the good shoes his parents and grandparents gave him. The laborers were fully committed to shoe-making and would talk about their craft every time they got together. They would talk about shoe-making during their weekly workshops and corporate gatherings. They would get together at one another’s homes and talk about shoe-making over coffee and cookies. They would purchase books about shoe-making and get together and discuss what they had read.
Slowly, but surely, the work of shoe-making ceased. Because the laborers spent so much time talking about the art of shoe-making and extolling the virtues of the great shoemakers that preceded them, they had so little time to actually make shoes, except for the few pairs that they lovingly fashioned for their children and themselves. Eventually the dormant presses, cutters and sewing machines were moved out of the building and replaced with comfortable chairs and coffee makers. Within a few years people began coming into Goodman’s building, no longer interested in hearing about the value of the good shoes that the company was known for, but wanting to hear about a variety of topics that the community considered interesting.
One day, Theodore Goodman stood before the collected horde and declared that he wanted to get back to the business of shoe-making, after noticing that many people in the community – even some hearing his words that fateful morning – where not properly shod. He wanted everyone in his town to no longer accept inferior footwear and for everyone to experience and live in the good shoes he was gifted enough to deliver. He made available to everyone present the tools necessary to do the work that had begun generations before. He offered to stand beside any person and give his expert advice and vast experience in shoe-making if they wanted to engage in providing the good shoes they were there to make.
Sadly, few accepted the offer to learn from the master and make a difference by bringing the good shoes to the many who were lacking them. Most were comfortable just talking amongst themselves, occasionally about shoe-making but more regularly about the mundane things of life. It is said that the original Goodman building is still open, but it is now a sandwich shop featuring free wifi. It is also said that just outside the center of town, in a small but adequate space, there is a group of cobblers still making wingtips, sandals and loafers and going out into the community sharing these good shoes with all who will accept them.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22