Dr. Thomas Lane Butts: Just a Story

My brother is an avid football fan. He seldom misses an event where a notable football coach or player is speaking. Brother Harold is the source of most of my sports stories. Last year he told me a great story I have been eager to use in a column or sermon. But the nature of the story is such that I have not been able to find a reasonable moral or spiritual application. I’ve even tried to find some biblical material to use in connection with the story. No luck.


It occurred to me that some stories are worth the telling without the teller having to devise some ‘strained’ application. So, you will have to make your own moral or spiritual connection. I will remind you that Jesus frequently told stories in which the hearer was left to make their own application.  If you think of some moral or spiritual application, send it to me. Otherwise, just enjoy the story.


While speaking at an event in Mobile, Alabama, last year, the famous Florida State University coach, Bobby Bowden, recalled an experience he had the last time he was in Mobile.


Coach Bowden was looking for something in his wallet and found a pick-up receipt from a shoe repair shop in Mobile. Since it was about twenty years old, he puzzled over it for awhile before he remembered why he had it.

He had been recruiting in Mobile some twenty years earlier and had been staying in this same hotel. While he was getting dresssed that morning, he noticed that there was a hole in the sole of one of his shoes. Someone on the hotel staff told him there was shoe repair shop just around the corner.  He put on another pair of shoes and took the old pair to the repair shop. He was given a small pick-up ticket which he tucked into the corner of his wallet and went on to another city on his recruiting tour. He forgot about the ticket and his shoes.


He recalled that the shoe shop was just around the corner from the hotel, so just for the fun of it he decided to see if the shop was still there. He walked around the corner and, sure enough, it was still there. He got out his ticket and went to the counter of the shop. No one was there. He knocked and finally an elderly man came out to wait on him. The old man took the twenty year old ticket, examined it on both sides, held it up to the light and  mumbled something under his breath. He then took the ticket with him into a back room. Bowden said he heard things being moved around in the back. He could hear the sound of boxes falling on the floor, and more unintelligible mumbling.


After about ten minutes, the old man came back out, handed Coach Bowden the ticket and said: "They will be ready tomorrow".