The Bare Soul - May 6, 2007
Who's Fooling Who?

Being a fool for a fools sake is foolish indeed. A fool for Christ, however, is another thing altogether.

Occasionally, I get an accusatory email or a comment on one of the running message boards that I subscribe to regarding my seeming self-promotion. I guess in some peoples minds it's an okay thing to do something that is regarded as somewhat remarkable but that tooting one's own proverbial horn is taboo and looked upon as "bad form". You might be surprised to hear that I agree with this. You could appropriately state, in that case then, why do you not live what you believe?

Perception, as with anything is actually held in the bias of the perceiver or the one that is making the judgment call. It is true that in the beginning and probably up until last year, I was full of the idea of promoting barefoot running by promoting ME! Lust is an interesting phenomenon. It does not always just have to do with sexuality, but it can also take sensual forms such as wanting more and more of anything. As I stated in one of my earlier writings "Life is a Journey", lust will manifest itself as always wanting MORE. If some is good, then more is better, right? That is what the soulish desires of lust would tell us. So, in that regard it was fun racking up the miles and the marathons ... for a while. However, it's like anything that is not centered in Christ -- in time it does not fulfill -- it feels empty and hollow. What really is the eternal purpose and fulfillment if it has nothing to do with building toward God's kingdom? True, barefoot running is a diversion and playtime for me and a wonderful escape from the stress of the day. But how much more a wonderful thing if God through my barefoot running can touch others and lead them to Him?

Can you imagine the sight that John the Baptist was in his day. The Bible is clear to point out that JTB was a character! Imagine this -- a so-called holy man that wore camel skins and ate locusts! Never mentions that he even wore sandals so there's probably a good chance he didn't own a pair. So, do you have the image? Here is this grizzled-looking fellow wearing animal skins and going barefoot and telling folks to repent. Most would have dismissed him as a lunatic, but the important thing to note about JTB is that he spoke with unction and passion. His contemporary preachers, the Pharisees, looked really good but were probably about as interesting to listen to as a tax lawyer at an IRS convention. Here you had some one with JTB that had something to say, yet was about as unconventional as anyone you could imagine. Finally, when JTB's ministry began to wane in respect to Jesus' ministry, JTB was the first to say when his disciples stated "They are all coming to Jesus for baptism rather than you!" JTB stated "I am merely the forerunner for Him ... He must increase and I must decrease".

Now I am in no wise comparing myself with John the Baptist. However, one thing I do know is that I, too, must decrease and my Lord must increase. My perceived quirkiness (by some) of my website, my running shirts that I wear that unabashedly read "Barefoot Rick", my continual touting of my barefoot exploits must have some other conclusion than just ME. They must inevitably point to my Savior rather than the attention staying on me. Otherwise, as the Preacher stated in the book of Ecclesiastes, "Vanity of vanity, all things of themselves are vanity!"

So, what are my goals regarding barefoot running? To enjoy a wonderful experience that God has so graciously allowed me to experience daily -- by running and playing and feeling the joy and peace that comes by this activity, barefoot running. In so doing, I hope that my witness and my words that God allows me to write will touch hearts and lead others to Christ. In so doing, my long-term goal is to be responsible for bringing as many souls with me to heaven as possible. A foolish goal, some may say. However, I am a fool for Christ and glad that today I am not my own fool for foolish sake alone. We should all ask ourselves in our heart of hearts -- Whose fool am I today?

Having that Proverbial Barefoot Blast in Christ,

Barefoot Rick

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