I Worked for a Cobbler
My mother was left a widow when I was about two years of age, and I had a younger brother only three weeks old. As my mother had a difficult time caring for two little children for a number of years, I went to work as soon as I was old enough.
One time, during school vacation, I went to work with a cobbler named Dan Mackay, in Los Angeles. He had a little shop, and it was papered most beautifully. Instead of fancy paper, he had a lot of old-fashioned Bible almanacs pasted up, and there were big bright texts; and people who came into that shop would find the Gospel message facing them. He would put a Gospel tract in every parcel that he made up, and would speak to nearly all his customers about their souls. He was a preacher of the Word seated there at his cobbler’s bench. When I went to work for him, I must have been a rather lazy boy. After he would soak a pair of soles in water, I had to hammer all the water out of those soles until they became hard and solid, and then he would nail them on the shoes. I used to grow very tired hammering those soles hour after hour, and constantly wished for something easier.
On my way home I had to pass another shoe shop. I could see the cobbler there cut a pair of soles, soak them in water, and put them right on the shoes without hammering them at all, and every time he drove a nail into them water would fly all over the place. That interested me very much. One evening I said to him: “You know, my boss makes me hammer all the water out of the soles. But you put them right on damp and soft when you get them out of the water.”
The man gave me a very sly wink. “They come back all the quicker this way, my boy!”
I thought I had learned something; so I went back to my boss and said, “Look here, I do not know why you make me hammer these soles. The man in the other shop does not do that, and he says they come back all the quicker, and he gets more jobs.”
My boss took out his Bible, and read: “Whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all to the glory of God.” Then he said: “Harry, perhaps I have been a little thoughtless. I have forgotten that you are just a lad of twelve years of age; and it is tiresome work hammering all day. I shall do some of them myself, and will teach you to do something else to rest you between times. But I will not allow anything to go out of my shop that is not well done. It is different with me than it is with the other man. That man is not saved. He does not know the Lord, but I do. I would love to be a preacher of the Gospel, but God has not gifted me in that way, but He has shown me how to cobble shoes, and has put me right here to glorify Him. You know, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again, and I stand at His Judgment Seat, I expect to find every shoe that ever went out of my shop in a big pile there; and the Lord will take them, and look over each one. And I expect Him to say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’!”
Do you wonder that a man like that had power in his testimony? People often came back to him, and said: “Mr. Mackay, when you fixed that pair of shoes for me, I found a Gospel tract in the parcel, and I have been reading it. Could you tell me how I could be sure of salvation?”
The cobbler would drop everything, and that cobbler shop would become a sanctuary. He would lead them to Christ, showing the way of life from the Word. When you speak of service do not always think of preaching and missionary endeavor. Anything that is worth doing at all can be done for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.