The Story:

There was once a very wise man living in ancient times. He was elderly and educated and held knowledge and books to the highest regard.

One day while on a walk, he realized that his shoes were really starting to wear out. Because he spent a lot of time walking on a daily basis, he knew he had to find the best shoes to support and protect his feet. But, back then, this wasn’t such an easy task, as he couldn’t jump online to do some research and have shoes delivered to his door.

The man didn’t want to make things worse by purchasing the wrong shoes and having inadequate protection, which would lead to injuries and the inability to leave his home and walk to find new books to read.

The man gathered all of the books he could that were written by only those that he admired the most to search for the answer to his question, “What do I do if my shoes have fallen apart?”

He read through several books for many hours before finding out that he had no choice but to go buy a new pair of shoes. He then spent a lot of time reading about how to know if a pair of shoes fits properly. Once he was satisfied with the answers he found, he was proud of himself for doing the research and he felt confident in his ability to buy a high-quality replacement for his old shoes. He figured if he hadn’t done his research, he probably would have gone barefoot for the rest of his life, as he had no one to tell him how to fix his shoes.

Following the books’ instructions, the man took a stick and measured his foot with it. He then went to the market and finally came upon a pair of shoes that he liked. However, he realized he had left the stick back at home, which was far away from the shop.

By the time the man returned to the market, the shop was closed. And, by that point, his shoes were completely split, so he had to return home barefoot.

The next morning, he walked back to the market with bare feet, but the shoes that he had chosen the day before had been sold. The wise man explained what had happened to the shopkeeper, who reacted with a sense of surprise, asking, “Why didn’t you buy the shoes yesterday?”

The wise man replied, “Because I forgot the stick that I had used to measure my feet back home. And anyone who knows anything about shoes knows that you have to have the correct measurements of your feet before you can buy shoes. I didn’t want to buy the wrong size, and I was following the normal instructions.”

Even more confused, the shopkeeper asked, “But your foot was with you, why didn’t you just try the shoes on?”

The wise man was equally confused in return and responded, “All the books say shoes must be bought with the exact same measurements of the shoes you already own.”

Laughing, the shop owner replied “Oh, no! You don’t need the advice from books to buy shoes. You just need to have your feet, some money, and some common sense to not complicate things.”

The Moral:

Sometimes you need to take action without overthinking things. Knowledge often comes in handy, but in some circumstances, if you lack experience or common sense, your knowledge will only get you so far. In fact, it could make things seem a lot more complicated than they actually are.

If you’re facing an issue, don’t forget to use your reasoning skills in addition to anything you’ve learned in a formal learning environment.Note from Ken: there is a parallel here in regard to our relationship with God. It’s so easy to spend so much time with peripheral things regarding our faith, that we miss the real thing, which is knowing and experiencing God’s presence. We really do over-complicate things. Like putting our foot into the shoe, we just need to step into God so to speak. He is always waiting for us, even while we are researching him instead of just knowing and experiencing him. Communing with God is just a prayer away.