Well-Worn Boots

As the old farmer stepped out into his garage, he bristled at the cool morning air. Reaching down, he patted his faithful companion, who immediately came to his side. Groaning softly as he bends down to slip on his work boots, he’s led into a holy pause. How old are these comfy old boots now, he wondered. Pondering his question, he reckoned nigh about nine years. Only my second pair, he mused to himself. They might make it to the end.

The day unfolding, the old man couldn’t stop looking at and thinking about that well-worn pair of boots. Plain, durable, and built to last, they were made for a purpose. That purpose, the man thought, to get the job done. His boots were scuffed and stained, with a worn left heel that reflected his own imperfection. Yet, they were perhaps his most comfortable footwear. The insides had become molded to fit his feet, and the leather was supple and soft. He remembered how the boots were stiff and uncomfortable at first. With a thick sole and composite toe, these boots were made to withstand the difficult ranch environment they were meant for.

As he worked, he considered how many trips they had made out to the barn or pasture to feed the livestock. He wondered how many times cattle or an ornery horse had stepped on them. They were even peed on when he wasn’t paying attention and stood too near the business end of an animal. And that scar on the right vamp? Man, when that piece of steel came loose, it could’ve cut my foot clean off. Sure glad I was wearing these that day, he thought. Thinking about his trusty old work boots, the man smiled to himself, having considered all the muck and mess his boots had been through. He remembered all the trips up and down off equipment, and the many miles they had carried him along his life’s journey.

Stepping onto the new deck to help set a wall for a building at a local church with friends, the old farmer received the word from God he was awaiting. He knew that if he kept letting his thoughts flow, God would reveal the lesson He had for him that day. The answer came in words from Matthew 25:23, “… Well done, good and faithful servant… “. The farmer thought about the first time he had heard those words. It was many years ago when he was listening to Billy Graham on a television program. The old farmer realized that he, too, was longing to hear those words one day.

“Good and faithful”, the farmer pondered these words. What does that mean to me, he thought. “Good” was easy. He understood it meant, to him, doing what was right in the eyes of God. But “faithful”, that was tricky. During a break in activity, he thought about the Parable of the Talents from which that phrase originated and offered a silent prayer. As Jesus told the parable, His purpose was to help us understand what it means to be faithful.

Being faithful is putting our faith into action. #FaithIsAVerb #Faithfulness #GoAndDo Share on X

Satisfied with his understanding, and break over, the old man returned to the job at hand. Still, his boots had more to show him, as God had more to teach him that day. As the morning turned the corner into afternoon, he thought more about the dusty, dirty, well-worn boots on his feet. A nagging thought made its way from his heart to his head and revealed itself. It did so with the words, “consider the character of service.” Were my boots now talking to me, he laughed to himself. They weren’t, he reasoned, but God sure was.

If faithfulness is putting our faith into action, then faithfulness is exhibited through service. These old boots have served me well, he thought. But why? He reasoned, they get no pay, no reward, they don’t shout “Hey, look what I did today.” Aha! The light came on! The boots are inanimate objects, they are tools. They don’t seek personal gain, satisfaction, or acknowledgement, they simply serve. This led the old man to consider the character of his service. He pondered this question. Who do I serve, God or myself? The answer, he knew, was in the next question. Who does your service glorify, you, or God?

The character of your service is determined by who gets the glory, you, or God. #FaithfulService #AllGloryIsGods Share on X

Reconciling the words of Matthew 25:23 with Colossians 3:23, the farmer recognized that seeking a reward for faithful service is not wrong. Luke 10:7 validates this; but we earn reward through good and faithful service unto the Lord, and not for our own glory.

I leave you with two thoughts this week. First, I encourage you to look for ways you can use the talents and gifts God has given you in good and faithful service to Him. There’s no place for the 90-10 rule (90% of the work gets done by10% of the people) in the body of Christ. Second, always consider the character of your service by asking yourself who gets the glory.

Something I’ve considered this week is how God sees me. When I arrive in heaven, will I learn that He saw me as that scuffed, stained, well-worn pair of work boots? I pray He doesn’t view me as that pair of shiny, scuff-free pair of boots that sit there under the church pew for only an hour a week. I don’t reckon He’ll have too much reward for the shiny me, as He made me for good and faithful service.

God’s blessings,


Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


56 thoughts on “Well-Worn Boots”

  1. “When I arrive in heaven, will I learn that He saw me as that scuffed, stained, well-worn pair of work boots? I pray He doesn’t view me as that pair of shiny, scuff-free pair of boots that sit there under the church pew for only an hour a week. ” I love this, J.D. Thank you for the reminder and challenge for every day.

    1. Thank you Ms. Diana. I often wonder if I’ve “done enough”, but am reminded that is isn’t about what I’ve done, but what He did. Yet, because of all He did for me, I am indebted to serve Him all my days. From the time of my new birth until He calls me home, I am to “go and do”, not “sit and wait”. I too hope to arrive scuffed and well-worn my friend.

  2. Sometimes I think I’ve been worn hard and put up wet one too many times. Still, tough as the old leather is, God continues to find things for me to do. Thank you, J.D., for reliving the lesson again and sharing it with us.

  3. Great analogy! I heard a man use a water faucet in a similar way. Its job was to be available to the master, not create a flow of water when it wanted to. Your boots serve the farmer by doing what they were designed to do. May I be satisfied with being who God made me to be and live to serve Him.

  4. Another marvelous analogy, J. D.! May we all arrive at the feet of Jesus one day knowing, even before He says it, that all we’ve done in this life, no matter how beaten and battered it has left us, will all have been for His glory.
    Blessings, my friend, and thank you for your moving Good Friday reflection!

  5. I’m just sitting here contemplating how much I’ve missed by not ever engaging my shoes in a conversation. I don’t need to wear work boots anymore, but if I did, I’d want them to look something like yours, and I’d certainly want God to talk to me through them. The message God passed along through them and that you amplified for the rest of us is one we desperately need to hear right now. We’re surrounded by a culture that worships image over substance and glorifies “virtue signaling” over actual performance. In more ways than we like to admit, the Church gets seduced into absorbing that toxic garbage. In any case, the value of faithfulness in actually doing what we were created and commissioned to do seems to get lost.
    As you learned when you donned your military uniform and swore to defend our beloved country, sometimes we’re expected to do things simply because it’s our duty. You didn’t expect to be patted on the back and told that you were heroic simply because you showed up for a simulated combat exercise once in a while. You faithfully did what the mission required because that’s what you signed up for and we who claim to be followers of Jesus need to get back to that.
    Thank you once again, Brother. I don’t think I’ll ever going to look at my footwear the same anymore. Your creative reminder of how much God values faithfulness, hit me with a powerful combination of encouragement and serious conviction. I’ve spent too much of my life polishing my “Sunday shoes” and not honoring those well worn sneakers that carried me through thousands of everyday tasks. But today, I’m going to have a chat with my sneakers. I’m going to apologize for not appreciating them enough and then I’m going to praise God for the things He values, and for using old, half-worn out dudes like me.

    1. Apologies for my delay in responding sir. saw everyone’s comments but have struggled with vision the past week. Your statement of “a culture that worships image over substance’ rings so true sir. For far too many, it’s more important how we appear than how we really are. We Christians are too quick to forget that God doesn’t look at our outward appearance by our inward. He knows, in the words of Solomon that “all is vanity.” It is the truth of our character that sways God. The outward is what the world sees, it’s what He sees within us that determines our value to His kingdom. Like you, I pray He sees a workman, not ashamed of how he yields the tools God has equipped him with; rightly able to divide the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:15). Let us not be ashamed of our service to Him.

  6. You post made me think about my old hiking boots that I take on mission trips and other adventures. I hope God sees me like my well worn boots (and your) instead of my Sunday only best shoes. Thanks JD.

    1. Amen Ms. Yvonne. I share in the prayer ma’am. Perhaps when we are taken up, our comfortable old boots will be awaiting us, in recognition of how He saw how we used them. In His service dear friend.

  7. May we all arrive as scuffed shoes. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “When we go before Him, God will ask, “Where are your wounds?” And we will say, “I have no wounds.” And God will ask, “Was there nothing worth fighting for?” Allen Boesak

    There is so much worth fighting for, worth becoming scuffed shoes for. God bless, JD.

  8. J.D., I heard someone say she wanted every ounce of time, talent, and opportunity God gave her to be used up before she reached heaven. What a worthy goal that mirrors the point of your post. Thank you for the boots analogy which gives us a clear picture of using the gifts we have and doing all we do the God’s glory. May our boots be well-worn at heaven’s gates.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeannie. Like your friend, and I suspect you also ma’am, I pray God empties and refills my cup as many times as He sees fit to use me somehow in His service; but when that day comes, I pray He drains every last drop of service from me so that I have nothing left but my love for Him when I arrive.

  9. Robert J. Calabria

    Love the message of the boot analogy. I continue to be humbled by the many ways God reaches out to us to follow the path he has planned for our lives. There are so many examples to learn from if we are quiet enough to see and hear them. Thank you for continuing to point these out to me/us. God Bless

  10. Thanks for another radiant ranch reminder, my friend.
    I’ll be mindful when I put on my shoes from now on and pray purposefully concerning their service to my Creator.
    Thank you.

    1. Great thought Ms. Connie. “Lord, as I start my day, guide these shoes and my heart along the path that you have set before me. Let me glorify You everywhere I go and in everything I do.” Amen!

  11. Dear friend, your message reminds me to put God first in every word and action in my life. I don’t have boots, but I have tennis shoes. 🙂 Those shoes have been worn many times when sharing the love of Christ. I will continue to be thankful for shoes and thankful for the opportunities to share His love with others. Have a blessed day!

  12. Kathy Collard Miller

    So powerful, J.D.!!!!! I’m so glad our well=worn bodies will enter heaven with a new “body”, heart, and soul resurrected into perfection. Great metaphor! Thank you.

  13. A few months ago, I got a new pair of rubber boots to wear in the garden, but I’ve been avoiding them in favor of my old, worn-out rubber Birkenstocks. “The insides had become molded to fit his feet.” Yes! That’s it! May our service make us evermore “conformed to His image “

    1. Amen Ms. Dottie. God smiled upon me through His validation through another of His servants this past week. It was the day after I posted this that Pastor David Jeremiah shared this thought; “We are the gloves of God in this world, but we’re useless unless we are filled with Him.” Our boots and Birkies are useless unless we fill them. We are worthless unless He fills us. God’s blessings ma’am.

  14. Great lesson today, brother JD. This reminds me of the Scripture about faithful feet: “How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!””‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭52‬:‭7‬ ‭That’s what you have brought us today, dear friend. Thank you!

  15. Another powerful message, my friend, the farmer. 🙂 It’s such a great analogy to the old and worn boots that get the job done. I pray to be the faithful servant who desires the Lord’s glory and not my own.

  16. I never thought about myself as a pair of boots, but I love the analogy. You’ve given so much to think about, J.D. I liked how you balance the verses from Matthew and Colossians to point out that God intends to reward us, but the glory must be His. Blessings!

    1. Indeed Ms. Annie. We so often fail to recognize that the many blessings in our lives are but a portion of the reward awaiting us. Yet in all cases, let all glory be His.

  17. I always appreciate the value of your lessons from your ranch, my friend. Simple, yet profound truths. For us farmers and ranchers, it’s not just our boots that tell the story, but our hats, gloves, hands, heart, skin and every part of us. I think when we’re working for the Lord, we don’t think about the reward, just the thought of working for our Father’s kingdom keeps us going. But when you hear that “Good and faithful servant” praise, my friend, you’ll know our Father recognized your faithful service. May God bless you and your Cross-Dubya family.

    1. So true Ms. Katherine. It’s when we give God the entirety of ourselves in service to Him that He can accomplish the most through us. I too pray I am well-worn when that day comes, with nothing left in my cup. I agree also that we serve Him with the sole goal of serving Him and the pleasure that brings. Rewards are not, and should not be, a consideration.

  18. This is my second reminder for the day about putting in action behind faith. Thank you for sharing this. Indeed we should put in the work while we wait for our prayers to be answered.

  19. Sounds like “those boots are made for talking” versus walking! Such a great analogy. Faithfulness is exhibited through service else it cannot show “itself” faithful. Love your quote about faithfulness being recognized through service. You might should have highlighted that! So here’s the thing – Well-worn is comfy, but we should never get too comfy either, right?

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