Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is playing in our area. You know the story. A poor girl is abused by her step-mother and step-sisters until a handsome prince meets her at a ball and later rescues her from her circumstances. Technically, Cinderella is the star of the show. She is the one through whom we all live vicariously, waiting for that day when someone rescues us from our troubles and offers us the life of our dreams.
But there is another star that plays a prominent role in Cinderella. No, it isn’t the handsome prince. In fact, it isn’t a “who.” It is a “what.”
Meet the shoe.
As I am sure you know, Cinderella dropped her shoe at the ball and the prince used it to find her. We love the scene where the prince tries unsuccessfully to cram Cinderella’s shoe on her step-sisters’ big feet. They try to make it fit, but it won’t. How could it? It isn’t their shoe.
I have been thinking about how God designs us for ministry and fits us in His Body. In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul addressed the subject of spiritual gifts and the tendency we have to rank our ministries by level of importance. We commonly put the ministries others can see at the top of the list and the ones less visible at the bottom. Paul pushes back on this value system when he writes, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthian 12:18)
It occurs to me, we can be like the evil step-sisters when we desperately try to fit our lives into the wrong shoe. The shoe hurts! Do you suppose God chuckles? For certain, the kingdom suffers.
Why do we try to wear the wrong shoes? Certainly, like the step-sisters, there is something attractive about places of prominence. But we can also misinterpret God’s plan for our lives. Perhaps you have known people who never find happiness because they fail to seek wise counsel, but continually try to live in someone else’s shoes. Or they have too many shoes and can’t decide which ones to wear.
Finding the right fit in the Lord’s kingdom isn’t easy. I personally don’t believe there is always just one place God wants us to be. He allows us to choose places of ministry that bring us fulfillment. As long as we are living honorable lives while using the gifts God has given us, and we are bearing fruit for the kingdom, He is pleased.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t a “sweet spot” where we discern the perfect fit between our giftedness and God’s mission for our lives. But we don’t necessarily need to live in this place all the time, as long as we aren’t trying to cram an undersized shoe on our foot.
I suppose I could expand on this metaphor. Perhaps Jesus is our prince who chooses us for His purposes. The wicked step-sisters might represent misguided believers that desires attention, but care little for the heart of the prince. I will let you figure out were the Fairy Godmother fits.
We will probably all go through seasons in our lives when we sense we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing. Not only is this to be expected, but God can use these times to refine our vision and deepen our reliance on Him.
The danger of the shoe actually resides in our hearts, not our feet. Perhaps most of all, we must be willing to let the prince put us where He wants us to be.
Cinderella is a marvelous story! And you can be in it.
If the shoe fits.