I dressed up today.
I don’t dress up very much anymore, but I dressed up today.
I’m wearing brown slacks, crisp white shirt, nice tie, dark jacket, and a nice black overcoat my brother-in-law gave me because he lives in Florida and it never got cold enough for him to wear it, but I live in an ice-box called Northern Colorado, so I have ample opportunities to wear his nice wool overcoat . . . but I digress.
I like to dress up.
I have nothing against suits and ties.
Actually, I take that back.
I hate ties.
It had to be a vindictive woman who decided that the buttons on the front of a man’s dress shirt were so offensive that they must be covered by a noose wrapped around the external carotid artery in a man’s neck (the artery that supplies blood to the exterior of the head, the face, and the greater part of the neck) and the internal carotid artery (the artery that supplies blood to the parts within the cranial and orbital cavities).
That being said, I’m wearing a noose . . . I mean a tie today, because I wanted to look the way bankers think a minister is supposed to look. I want to make a good impression.
I have a 2 pm appointment with a bank president to discuss some financial options for our congregation. It’s an important meeting, so I thought that I should dress for the occasion, but I’m conflicted.
I’m not an idiot. I know when to dress up. I know why it’s important to dress up for different situations. I dress up for weddings, funerals, graduation ceremonies, and occassionally for church.
I dress nice for our church services, but I don’t dress up.
I often preach in jeans. Nice jeans. Clean jeans. Sometimes I actually iron my jeans.
I wear a nice collared shirt.
I just don’t preach in a suit and tie.
Some of you are disappointed in me. That’s fine. I still love you.
Some of you are more disappointed in the fact that I don’t preach in a suit than you are in the fact that your congregation has reached no one for Christ in the last year, or in the fact that your congregation has no plans to help kids with AIDS in 2009, or in the fact that your congregation tolerates sin in the Leadership, or in the fact that you’ve never told the guy next door about Jesus. That’s not fine. I’m not sure I like you.
I love God.
I absolutely love God.
He is my passion. My life. My purpose. My obsession. And vice versa.
I want to please God, but I don’t feel the need to impress him.
Actually, that’s not true.
I do want to impress him, but with the things that actually impress him.
God is not impressed with our fancy clothes.
To the prophet Samuel God said, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)
And God does not want us to be overly impressed with others’ fancy clothes.
Through James the Lord says, “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4)
When we judge someone for how they dress, we do a bad thing.
Take it from the One who made man: Clothes don’t make the man; the heart makes a man.
And clothes don’t impress God. He sees through them, to the heart.
I hear what you’re saying, “Doesn’t God deserve our best?” To which I say, “Yes.”
Now let me ask you a question, “Who decided that ‘the best’ was a silk suit and expensive tie?”
Ever been to a church service in a third world country? I have and their “best” clothes are a mixture of old t-shirts, tattered jeans, and sandals if they’re lucky enough to have shoes that fit . . . and I think they looked marvelous . . . and so did God.
Church is not about making an appearance or about our appearance. Church is about being God’s “called out” people. Church is about being the body of Christ. Church is about being followers of Christ.
I want to impress God by wearing Christ as I work, play, eat, write, speak, and meet with bankers.
Well, that’s that.
I think my tie is too tight.