make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price


“Martin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” As if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist?

Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”

“I’m a shoemaker.”

Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”

In becoming Christians, we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards—and with a renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives.

One way we reflect our Creator is by being creative right where we are with the talents and gifts he has given us. As Paul says, “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. . . . So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:20, 24). As we do this, we fulfill our God-given mandate to reform, to beautify, our various “stations” for God’s glory.”


4 responses to “make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price

  • Maria

    I appreciate this post, but sometimes I wonder if Christians need to be more aware of how their vocations may fit into bigger systems of corruption or injustice. I may try to live out that calling with “greater objectives” in some small way, but if we are in a vocation where many of the goals are antithetical to the kingdom of God, there may be some need to reconsider. I say if one becomes a Christian or grows in an awareness that their vocation is part of a corrupt system, they should stay in that position if they can while trying to radically change the system, knowing it will may lead to them being fired sometime soon. I also think that when one becomes a Christian they may realize they are in a vocation they were never called to- they were in it for money, stability, success, etc- without any sense that they were called to the vocation. And upon becoming Christian may now be open to following a different vocation they feel more called to because their judgment is less clouded by values of success or wealth. There is a lot to unravel here, but I think capitalism has corrupted Christianity in this area- making us believe that all vocations are acceptable as long as we “do them for the lord.” Personally, I just disagree.

  • gregorylarson

    It was interesting Maria when I read your comment how we looked at this quote from 2 different perspectives. (which neither is right or wrong).

    You were reading it through the lens of assessing whether a – “vocation is part of a corrupt system” – which you are very passionate about because of your background and the passions that God has give to you and that you have developed.

    & I was assessing it from the perspective of ‘should everyone go into full-time ministry’ – because of my background of that was the ‘most spiritual’ thing someone could do.

  • Maria

    that is very interesting. i would have never thought about people leaving their vocation for full time ministry just thinking it is ‘more spiritual’. I had a ministry professor once tell me that you should avoid full time ministry at all costs- only do it if there is no possible way you could do something else. That piece of advice has really stuck with me.

  • gregorylarson

    that is very good advice that I would agree with. Dont go into full-time ministry unless you are called & driven there by God.
    Otherwise do anything else.

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