Sandals on a beachA friend and I sat on a beach recently, noticed these abandoned sandals, and began to speculate about them. No apparent footprints in front of or behind them. Facing away from the water, not toward it.

As a fiction author, all sorts of scenarios come to mind, involving sharks, an attacker, a runaway wife….

The reality, of course, is probably that the owner decided to walk barefoot in the sand (something I almost always do), and simply left her sandals until she got ready to go home. Apparently, the sand was too hard at low tide to leave footprints.¬†Some time later, she must have returned for them but we were busy watching the sunset, so we didn’t see who they belonged to.

How easily distracted we are. We can head for refreshing water, spot a seashell or two or three, and next thing we know, we have left behind our sandals and forgotten about the swim we wanted to take. Another time, we become aware of a person without shoes and consider helping them, but get caught up in the sunrises and sunsets of our own lives, forgetting to move in their direction, failing to come to their aid.

Let’s face it. We are weak. We have good intentions but how often do we follow through?

Maybe it’s just me, though. You’re probably much more consistent at giving to the poor, praying for the sick, encouraging the discouraged, than I am.

But my Savior took off His sandals and walked on the water, going to where his disciples were in trouble. He walked among the lepers and healed them, ate with tax collectors and sinners, rescued an adulterous woman from a stoning.

I cannot heal anyone, but I can pray. I can’t turn away an angry mob, but I can help rescue a woman caught in prostitution. I can eat with sinners every day, and extend Christ’s love to them. I need His help to do all these things, to keep me on track, to avoid leaving my sandals and chasing the waves instead.

Jesus told His disciples, “I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36, GW). When we reach out to minister to others, we are ministering to Him.

What do you think? How can you minister to someone today?