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Wisdom is where wisdom is. And sometimes wisdom comes from unusual sources. Like shoeshine guys.

If you’ve read “The Theory Of Everything” you know that appearance is important and nothing says “put together” like well shined shoes. And even though I enjoy shining my shoes I like professional shoeshines better—not just for the shine but for the conversation.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal years ago about a shoeshine guy in St. Louis who made a yearly income in the low six figures. A shoeshine guy! I have listened to shoeshine guys ever since. I’ll tell you about a shoeshine guy that can get you a meeting with the governor “Behind The Door”. And I’ll tell you what a $100,000 plus a year in Nashville showed me about success. On this side of “The Door” I’ll tell you about my shoeshine guy.

I get my hair cut every week and generally try to have a pair of shoes for Grady to shine. I do that because I like shined shoes, Grady does a great job, and as I said to him recently, “I’m trying to keep him gainfully employed. To say that Grady is colorful is an understatement—when he was younger he was a self-described crackhead, served time, and ran with some of the most notorious people in our city. Those days are long behind him and he is a solid church goer and a good man, but even in his old age he has women following him all the time—a veritable chick magnet he is. (BTW I did ask him if I could use his name.)

I’m sure that Grady isn’t pulling down six figures and I’m equally certain that he can’t get me an audience with the governor, but wisdom is where it’s found and last week Grady gave me a word of wisdom.

He was kibitzing as usual, giving me a hard time about being successful and in ministry. That started a conversation between my barber and I about our lives and success in general (my barber Howard has been quite successful himself) and that caused Grady to say—“You know the difference between you and me? You had a plan.”

There it is. Words of wisdom from my shoeshine guy. You need a plan.

One of my favorite verses of scripture declares “A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” You’ve got to have a plan. It has to be a workable plan. It has to be a plan that fits your life. It may be an original plan. It may be someone else’s plan that you re-wrote for yourself. But you need a plan.

On that last point—re-writing someone else’s plan—you may have read in “The Theory Of Everything” about getting ideas from parallel disciplines outside of your area. Being in ministry I often read articles about the success strategies that entertainers use. Entertainment is a parallel discipline to ministry. Forbes magazine recently featured The Weeknd on the cover. He had a plan. It worked. And it will crossover into ministry. You’ve got to have a plan—but it you use someone else’s plan you have to make it your own.

What’s your plan? When you go “Behind The Door” I’ll share some things from a couple of really successful shoeshine guys that will help you with your plan. You can get access “Behind The Door” by sowing an offering of any size into this ministry. When you sow your seed you automatically receive the password from the month and it’s good for the entire month. What the shoeshine guys shared with me is worth knowing. I’ll meet you “Behind The Door.”

Your Weekly Action: Talk to someone that you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to and listen for their wisdom. You will be surprised by what you hear and enriched by listening.

Dr. Leon Stutzman

Pastor, Author, Creative Thinker, Problem Solver, More Than A Prophet, Legend, and Icon


Dr. Leon Stutzman has been called all of these things by the people that he has helped. But everyone calls him "Doc."

The Theory of Everything was written for ministries, business people, and everyone that's motivated to succeed in life. It's a free gift to all pastors.