Polished Shoes

Updated: Oct 27

Today I was reminded of a parable told to me by Madam Wallace years ago.


Madam Wallace ministered in the mountains above Port au Prince for many years and has been called “the Protestant Mother Theresa”. Her ministry is legendary and was known as the Haiti Baptist Mission. It was founded in the 1940’s. She is now retired but many of you have visited there and perhaps met her.


As our first ministry was a school just down the road, we became good friends and I would enjoy listening to her wisdom. One pearl that she said was “If you want to help someone who will succeed, check to see if their shoes are polished”. The pearl could have been “See if their house is clean” or “See if they work past quitting time”, but her version of the pearl is clear.

The Parable of the Talents illustrates this. You want to help the person who will do the things that are necessary to succeed and not the one who will spend the money you may loan them on frivolous things and then come back to you begging for more.


Today Cliff Hawley and I were enrolling a young man named Damas into Lumier Christian Schools in Gressier, near the Village. The Director of the school said to me that we won’t regret supporting Damas as he has been at the head of his class for the last three years. I went outside to share this comment with Damas and Cliff. As I was telling them what the Director said, I looked down at our shoes. Damas’s shoes were spit spot polished, Cliff and mine looked like we had been in Haiti too long. I certainly had a chuckle and remembered Madam Wallace’s comment.


I’m not clear what this parable means for Cliff and me but it is clear that for Damas, Lord willing, he will multiply his talents many times.

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