Summary: 4th in this series. Borrowed from a concept by Tim Cook, a fellow preacher. A study of Matthew 25, and how the Church can put it into practice.
Intro: How did you decide what to put on this morning? I usually put on what my wife says I can wear. That’s why, if anyone ever says to me, “Oh, you look nice in that!” I can tell them, “My wife dresses me nice.” It’s true. If it matches, or anything close to it, I didn’t do it!
Most of us, like going to the grocery store, the refrigerator, or other places, need to step back from our closet and see how blessed we are. Just this week, I went to the basement and there, on a rack, were my shirts for warmer weather. I grabbed them up, and brought them up to my closet. I’ll also be putting away a stack of clothes that are for cold weather. I know that’s taking a risk, but I’m counting on no more snow this spring.
I have enough clothes – enough to be covered, and to be appropriately dressed. How about you?
I used to have T-shirts from high school – Carrie got rid of them when I was gone on a trip.
She once bought me a pair of slacks from LL Bean online. They were a clearance item. It turns out they were there because they were blue – really blue – Smurf blue. But, hey, we paid for them. I was going to wear them. That’s what you do, right? Before long, the kids were calling them my Smurf pants. If I was wearing them, my daughter would ask Mom to come and pick her up. I took them on a mission trip to Haiti, and I left them with a guy there who needed them more than I did. No more Smurf pants. Maybe today there’s a guy in Haiti whose kids are embarrassed by him!
I remember thinking through not having clothes to wear. It was in India. Our time had packed clothes that we would leave at the end of our trip. Sometimes, dozens of people would respond to the invitation to accept Jesus, and they were all set to be baptized, but it would be 5 o’clock or so and in January the nighttime temperature dipped down to the 70’s there in Southern India. Many of these people waited to be baptized until the next day, because they owned only one set of clothes. They couldn’t get them wet because they would have been too cold that night.
A couple years ago, I set out to see what the Bible has to say about clothing and what we should think about it – to develop a “theology of clothing.” So I worked to find everything the Bible has to say about clothing. What I ended up with was 7 sheets filled with verses (it wasn’t all done), and a whole lot of reading to do. So, I set it aside until sometime in the future when it was something I had to deal with. Then came this message, and here I was, dealing with it!
Clothing has been an important subject of the Bible since Genesis 2:25 where Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. It’s important as Ruth puts on her best clothes to go ask Boaz for his care and protection. It’s important as a purple robe is put on Jesus to mock Him, and as his executioners cast lots to see who would get His tunic. It’s important as the men who stoned Stephen laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul of Tarsus. That same man would later write from prison to Timothy, asking him to bring him his cloak before winter. And clothing is still an important subject clear through to Revelation 22:14 where the New Jerusalem is inhabited by people who have their robes washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
A book could be written on this subject. Maybe it has. Today, we’re just going to scratch the surface about it. So, roll up your sleeves, loosen your collar, take off your shoes, and let’s go! Here are some angles about clothing to put in your pocket and take home.
An opportunity to help
I’ll put a few pictures up here. Tell me, what does this person do? [doctor; policeman; McDonalds; Hockey player; Captain, etc.] How could you tell? Their clothing!
Target employee. – Once when we were out of town and Andy was here at home, he bought a red polo shirt, put it on with his khaki pants, and went to Target just to hang out and see how many people asked him for help!
Lots of vocations have specialized clothing that help people do their jobs – clothing that protects them, or equips or identifies them in some way. You don’t see many mechanics wearing a tie, because that could be very bad! And you don’t see many attorneys appearing before judges in greasy jumpsuits, because that could be very bad too!