We don’t talk about cobblers much these days. One doesn’t often find “Drop shoes off to the cobbler” on the average to-do list between run to the grocery store and stop by the bank.
In our household, shoes have a rough go at life. With rough and tumble boys, we have our fair share of holes poking through toes and other nearly terminal shoe problems. When the repairs go beyond the scope of a glue gun, we typically send the poor soles to the landfill of lost things. No need for a cobbler here.
This past week, I realized that while cobbling is not my profession, I am a professional cobbler. Allow me to explain.
A. W. Tozer, in his book That Incredible Christian, got my mind on cobbling, and I have been unable to shake the strange word picture ever since.
Talking about the human tendency to tweak and meddle with broken things, Tozer writes the following:
“Man is a born cobbler. When he wants a thing to be better he goes to work to improve it. He improves cattle by careful breeding; cars and planes by streamlining; healthy by diet, vitamins and surgery; plants by grafting; people by education. But God will have none of this cobbling. He makes a man better by making him a new man, He imparts a higher order of life and sets to work to destroy the old.”
I distinctly remember this very concept being one of the great reverberating truths that echoed within the hollows of my soul upon first coming to understand the grace.
Being a naturally self-reliant fixer and one loves to find resourceful solutions, I had literally been exhausting myself trying to fix all the tears, rips and ragged ridges of my soul. Upon hearing the Gospel reality that God did not expect me to fix myself, but rather had provided the single, soaring solution for sin-shattered souls, my heart literally leapt.
I remember walking the halls of my high school carrying around a little yellow index card, memorizing 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is passing away, behold, the new is coming.
Strangely enough though, the cobbling which had been a minor hobby before I was in Christ has grown to be more of a profession of mine as I have continued to walk with God.
Old habits die hard, and my soul seems to be in large part Galatian. I need to hear Paul rhetorically asking me the same questions He asked the cobbling Galatian church.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:2-3
On a regular basis, I need to be reminded that God will have nothing to do with my cobbling. I need the Spirit to illuminate my silly self-tinkering in a corner, trying to patch up my soul or pretending it is perfect. I need Him to lead me back to the Cross where the One with a spotless soul was literally stripped and torn so that I might be clothed with a seamless cloak.
My Little Cobbler
We hobble and we cobble,
Frantically trying to fix.
We clumsily attempt
All the illusionist tricks.
Wearing fig leaf covers,
We are experts at hiding.
Poorly patching holes,
In our own selves confiding.
But you are not a cobbler,
Our All-creating One.
You impart a new nature
To those who are undone.
A closet full of righteousness,
Royal clothes at your disposal,
“Leave your rags for robes,”
Is ever your kind proposal.
Drop your tools, tattered one;
Leave that threadbare coat.
My only son was stripped bare
So on His siblings I might dote.
Come here, my little cobbler,
Your robes and ring await.
My lamp is every burning,
You can never be too late.