Shoemakers in Corinth

"The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship."

- Quote widely attributed to Martin Luther

This doesn't mean that craftsmanship is the trump card for faithfulness at work. Surely there are exquisitely-made gambling tables and remarkable displays of artisanship in elite strip club furniture, but these are - in my opinion - misdirected uses of talent. Craftsmanship must be discerningly applied.

Of course, placing crosses on crappy shoes may be worse than applying craftsmanship to crappy ends, so maybe Luther is right in implying that we ought to start by making good shoes. That way, the little crosses (if we decide to put them on) are not cheap stamps of religious affiliation, but rather justification to customers for our excellence, and personal indicators that we would sell each shoe to God himself.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

- From Paul to the church in Corinth, a city not unlike some of our own today


Red Letter Believers June 11, 2008 at 8:04 PM  

"putting crosses on crappy shoes'....what a great line. FOR YEARS we have gotten away with bad music, bad design, bad advertising , bad writing because we were Christians.

How about excellence?

Sam -- love your blog. Adding it to my favorites and to my blog. You speak to the deep things --

David Rupert

Sam Van Eman June 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

Amen to excellence, David.

I'm glad you like the blog.

Real Live Preacher June 13, 2008 at 10:15 AM  

Sam, I like the craftsmanship applied to this essay. Not a wasted word here. Carefully written and insightful. Thanks.

I featured this blog post along with the one above on Henri Nouwen at the High Calling Blog site today.

spaghettipie June 13, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

Sam, you said so much in so few words! I really appreciated your thoughts. Sometimes we as Christians become so lax in our workmanship, forgetting that everything we do represents the name of Christ. Thanks for the reminder.

Sam Van Eman June 16, 2008 at 7:48 AM  

Real Live Preacher, thanks for featuring this blog. I'm glad to contribute to what you're doing at

Spaghettipie, it's good to hear that my post on craftsmanship was well-written. My words have been assembled poorly plenty of times - this seems like the time NOT to do that.

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