|Vol. 1, No. 3||Page 7||March 1999|
What Do You Wear
By Bonnie Rushmore
My youngest son worked at the local Bob Evans Restaurant for the summer. During the orientation for all employees of that company dress and appearance were stressed to the future employees. Among other things male employees are not allowed to wear their hair longer than the collar of their shirts and it is to be one natural color (no purple, green, etc.). They are allowed one ring and a watch (no other jewelry is permitted while working). They are to be clean-shaven, wear dark pants, white shirt and tie if working on the floor or apron and ball cap if working the grill line or kitchen. The reason for this strict dress code is Bob Evans Restaurant owners wish to portray themselves as a family oriented place to eat.
At the end of the summer it was my privilege to attend the orientation program at the International Culinary Arts School where my son now is attending for the next 18 months. Again, dress and conduct while in school was stressed. Solid black shoes, black pants, white long-sleeved jacket shirt, white handkerchief around the neck, meat thermometer in the pocket, and white hat while in the kitchen. The hat is to be removed during the classroom sessions. The school is located on the fifth through tenth floors of a down town office building in Pittsburgh. When the student gets off the elevator he must be in full uniform and remain in full uniform until he exits the building at the end of the school day. The reason for this strict dress code? The student is representing this school, and should be willing to show pride in his school at all times. While some of these requirements are safety minded, the emphasis is similar to Bob Evans Restaurant owners. The officials see a direct correlation between behavior and dress and pride. What do you wear to worship your God?
Does God care what one wears or is He more concerned with attendance and service? In Exodus Chapter 28 God gave Moses exact instructions to make garments for the priests of the Old Testament. These instructions included what type of material, what color and the construction process. The purpose of these special clothes: "And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:2).
In the New Testament Peter wrote by inspiration that all Christians are spiritual priests (1 Peter 2:1-10). A special emphasis in verse 9 shows that we are set apart as was Aaron and his sons. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." Are you showing that you are set apart by the garments that you wear to worship your God?
Jesus taught that one's attire should correspond to the occasion. In Matthew 22:1-14 in the parable of the wedding feast the king condemned the man who was not dressed (prepared) for the wedding. "And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Does not this verse show one is to make preparation for worshipping and serving God? Will you be speechless if God were to question your attire?
The clothes that we wear indicate something, and many times will have a bearing on our behavior. Watch the children at the playground. Compare their attire with the games they play. Most of the time you will find that when children are dressed in their best they are more conscious of getting dirty or tearing their clothing then when they are in their "play clothes." Adults also display concern for the clothes that they wear. Most individuals do not dig a ditch or work on a car in a suit and tie. If this observation is correct why do we insist on worshipping God in jeans and a T-shirt or the clothes that we wear to a backyard barbecue?
I am not condemning jeans and a T-shirt in the worship assembly if that is all one has to wear. However, I am concerned when it seems one has not set aside the money to buy other clothes but seems to have the finances for a family vacation, a nice car, tickets to the ball game, and other such luxuries. I want all to worship and serve God in an acceptable manner. I do not want any individual to stay home because "they do not have appropriate clothes" to wear. I do not intend to place an inappropriate emphasis on one's attire. I am only asking that as one prepares to worship and serve God to give attention and forethought to the attire that is displayed to God.