The Beautiful Feet
George Everard, 1885
"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation!" Isaiah 52:7
Never were feet so beautiful as those of the Lord Jesus. Think of Him on Mount Olivet proclaiming blessing upon blessing on the humble and the contrite. Think of Him as He trod the waves of Gennesaret, and spoke to the troubled disciples, "It is I, be not afraid!" Think of Him as He met the bier at Nain, and spoke to the sad heart of the widow, "Weep not." Think of Him as, wearied and footsore, He sat by the well of Sychar, and gave the living water to a thirsty soul.
Think, too, of those feet of Jesus pierced and nailed to the cross for your sins and mine, and well may we be ready in spirit to act like the woman in the Gospel who kissed His feet, and anointed them with ointment (Luke 7.)
But your feet may be beautiful too. If you follow His steps, and like Him go about "doing good," in His sight, in the sight of His people — then your feet, sin-stained though they may have been in days past — yet shall have a beauty and a glory of their own. You remember, perhaps, the lines —
"Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee."
But how may this be?
Alas for the feet that are swift to do evil! There is many a foot that runs eagerly in wicked ways. Cruelty, deceit, disregard of rightful authority, unfeeling indifference to the peace and welfare of others, utter mindlessness of God's fear and love — these things mark the path in which they walk. And many a footstep leaves a dark mark behind — a soul turned aside from truth and righteousness, a companion hardened in wickedness, a parent pained and saddened, the lad himself sinking deeper in the mire of sin and depths of iniquity. But may your path be ever upward. May the marks left by your feet be such as will help and encourage, and not hinder, others in the path of life! "I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word." Psalm 119:101
If you would have it so, remember the feet first become beautiful when they return from the far country, and turn homeward to the Father's house. Very beautiful in the father's eye were the feet of the prodigal, though shoeless and covered with dust from his long journey — when he came back from his life of waste and revelry.
Have your feet yet trodden this path? Have you ever truly said in your heart, "I will arise, and go to my Father!" Have you confessed your sin to Him, and found free forgiveness through His mercy in Christ?
Begin here, and the rest will follow. Free mercy covering you with the robe of a Redeemer's righteousness, and free grace filling your heart with a song of gladness — you will go forth with your "feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace." Stand firm on the promises of the Gospel, and wherever you go, you will love to carry the spirit and the message of the Gospel with you.
Then be careful about several points:
1. Let your feet carry you often to the throne of grace. The path that leads to it should be trodden not only in the morning and evening, but many times a day. If you will only reckon it your highest privilege to be allowed to tell your needs and troubles to a Father who loves you, and then go to Him in Christ's name — then many a word, a desire, a look may arise to Him through the day, that will bring you in return peace and strength.
2. Seek that your feet may be winged by Christian zeal. Be very zealous for God's glory and the welfare of others. Let not sloth and self-indulgence hinder you in doing some act of kindness that may be suggested to you. Be ever on the look-out for little opportunities of doing good. It may be but a word to cheer one in trouble, or a few minutes help to a young school-fellow in some difficult bit of homework he cannot master, or a trifling gift to a poor child in the street. But whatever your hand finds to do in this way — do it with all your might.
Remember the good Samaritan. Think how he cared for the man fallen among thieves and bound up his wounds, and walked himself while the poor man rode on his animal to the inn. Ah, I think the feet of the Samaritan must have been very beautiful in the eyes of the one he so befriended! Act in the same spirit, and yours will be no less so in the eye of many a one whose sorrows or sufferings you have relieved.
3. Seek also that your heart may be filled from the storehouse of God's truth. No feet are more beautiful than those which carry the good tidings of God's love and salvation to those who are perishing. How beautiful were the feet of Philip in the eye of the eunuch when he could unfold to him the story of Christ's death, and show him His willingness and power to save! How beautiful were the feet of Peter in the house of Cornelius when he opened the door of faith to the Gentiles! How beautiful were the feet of Paul at Thessalonica and Philippi and Corinth — to those who embraced the Gospel he preached!
Now, if you would be able to tell of Christ to others, like these servants of God, your own heart must be filled with the truth of the Gospel. You must seek to have its doctrines and promises illumined by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, so that they may be life and joy to your own soul. Then be ready, as God opens the way, to carry the message to others. You may have many opportunities even at school, and still more at the University, or in other walks of life. And remember that but a few well-timed words, spoken in humility and love, may do a work for God that you could never have anticipated.
But is there no young friend who reads these lines who in a still higher sense, may have "the beautiful feet?" It is a privilege in any way to carry the message of peace and salvation — but how great is the privilege of giving your whole life to this work! Is there no one willing and able out of love to Christ to seek the mission field, to spend your life in winning others for Him? If only the heart is right, it is far the most blessed work on earth. I know that it may not bring as much gold and silver as may sometimes be found in other callings. I know it brings with it much conflict and difficulty at the present day. But in spite of this, it is the work most like that of Christ, and with His help and blessing may make you useful to thousands. O that some young heart might respond to this appeal, and seek guidance and direction from above to carry it out!