Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Clothes Make the Man (...or Woman)

My church has put out a new 21-day challenge (a reading plan of 21 days of scripture) through the letters of Paul. Yesterday's verses were from chapter 3 of Colossians and the following verse jumped out at me:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." - Colossians 3:12, NIV

I wrote a bunch in my journal about it and I can't do all my thoughts justice here, but basically I think it's an interesting analogy to consider virtues as clothing for Christ followers. We live in a society in which clothes are often our first impression of people and whether we like it or not, clothing sends snap judgments about other people straight into our brains. (Would you think the woman who cut in front of you at the mall was snobbish if she wasn't dressed in a Gucci ensemble with Prada shoes and a Ferragamo purse? Would you assume the man on a bench at the train station was homeless if he was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit instead of a tattered winter coat?) In Biblical times too I'm sure that clothes also were a sort of statement. Rich people could obviously afford expensive dyes and nicer cloth and religious leaders were probably most recognizable by their dress. So the message is timeless - clothes will tell other people something about you. Thus, if as Christ followers, our first message to the world is that we are covered with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" we're going to more accurately display who God is to those that do not know him. Those attributes should be the first things that others see in us. We must live out and show them, not just think and feel them. Just as we must consciously choose what to wear every morning, we must also consciously choose to wear these virtues in our daily lives.

That's what I'm meditating on today. And as I'm sure you've come to expect, here's the fundraising report for our St. Baldrick's team. Extreme gratitude to everyone contributing. (And if you haven't yet, you can donate online here!) I might sound like a broken record but I really can't say it enough: THANK YOU!!!

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