Hole in the Shoe

Welcome to our series, Stories From the Field,” the podcast that takes you deeper into the stories from our national partners in the national church worldwide. Ron has sat with incredible men and women of God and listened to their testimonies. This podcast is a glimpse behind the scenes of his many adventures. Welcome to the studio, Charis and Ron. The title of today’s story that I’m going to give you is A Hole in the Shoe.’ Does that mean something?

Ron- It does because it takes me back to China. This was a few years ago. It was a time when the house church movement was growing exceptionally wide and far and we could get in and interview a lot of people. Clamp down came after this story when surveillance went up and they were being tracked. So this is in the good old days, I’m going to say. What happened was, we were going one evening outside of Beijing and we took conveyances out there. It was outside the city but it was still a suburb we’ll call it. When we went out there we went to this training center and in the training center we were supposed to meet with a leader. So we did, and this is the leader of one of the largest, if not the largest, house church movements in all of China. And we are sitting in a classroom, not a fancy classroom, this was a long, cold classroom. They didn’t heat it and this was probably in the middle of winter and it was cold in there. They didn’t want to spend the money on fuel, the kids just put on their clothes and huddled together at their desks and just kept warm that way. So, I’m sitting there with a couple of folks, we were all sitting there together and the pastor, the leader, was telling us a story. All of a sudden, something strange happened. In China, you are not supposed to show the soles of your feet, that is sort of like a bad thing to do, it’s an insult. But he crossed his leg, put his foot up and I got a glimpse of his shoe. Now remember, this is the leader of probably about, ah, 13,000,000 people conservatively.

<p>Man praying</p>
I’m thinking to myself, this is the leader of so many people, a well-known Christian leader within China.

Joy- So an important guy.

Ron- An important guy, and so we’ll call him Michael. So Michael put his foot up and I got a glimpse of the bottom of his shoe, I noticed it. It had a big hole, probably a hole that was an inch in diameter in the bottom of one of his shoes. A hole right through to his sock. At the time it meant nothing in our conversation, but it sparked something for me. I’m thinking to myself, this is the leader of so many people, a well-known Christian leader within China. A great following, responsibilities, prestige because he’s the top of the pyramid shall we say and he has a hole in his shoe. Now, in the West, I compare it a lot to the West, in the Western church this would be like a very polished leader, a very charismatic person, dressed to the nines with televised appearances and make-up and hair coiffured and perfect shoes and suits that would be multi-thousands of dollars. And I’m sitting beside the leader of probably the largest grouping of people in the world who call themselves believers in Christ. He’s got a hole in his shoe. Now what that told me, because now I’m going to get quite into his character, his character was one of a humble servant. He rose to the position because he was a good Bible teacher but he knew Jesus. He was one of the ones that would stand out in the crowd as a follower of Christ. Therefore, he made his headlines, he made his fame not because of how he dressed or how he looked, but by what the quality of his soul was inside. That was the difference. You could tell when this man spoke, that he spoke under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He couldn’t care less about the outward trappings. He had older clothes on, not poor, just older, ragged in a couple of spots. A hole in his shoes. He probably hadn’t had his hair cut in a couple of months. He was always on the road, teaching, inspiring, leading, being that man who was at the forefront of the action but pointing to Jesus all the time. This would be probably in regards to what we read about of the heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews. He would be one of those heroes, who had a hole in his shoe. I came home after that and I told people, This is what leadership needs to look like in North America and we need to have a lot of leaders with holes in their shoes.” That is a symbolic thing that I’m talking about but at the same time, whereby they are glowing with the Spirit of God, and people are attracted to them not because of outward appearance but by what is going on in their souls. That to me was one of the best meetings I have ever had in my entire life.

Joy- Okay, well now a hole in the shoe means a lot more to me than it did before the story. There you have it, a story from the field and something that we definitely need to hear. It was obviously impactful for Ron to see that. Thanks, Charis and Ron.

In China, you are not supposed to show the soles of your feet, that is sort of like a bad thing to do, it’s an insult.

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