Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sunday best vs. casual dress

Do not get this story “twisted”, it is meant to point out the extremes of Casual and Sunday Best dressing (this website may be a little ‘over-the-top’ for some). There’s a problem when we come to the Lord in anything other than our “Sunday Best”.

Once upon a time, people use to put on their “good clothes” before attending church. Preparations usually began on Saturday or before bedtime that night. People would lay out their clothes, get their hair styled or cut and then go to bed early because you didn’t want to get caught ‘nodding’ in church. That was called getting out your “Sunday Best” and getting ready for church.

Today it’s called: “Casual Sunday” and some churches have it more than once a year. It is a designated Sunday (or Saturday) when people can ‘dress down’ or maybe even don some sort of “theme apparel”. It’s a day of worship that people can come as they are, yet some bounce into church looking as if they just rolled out of bed and their clothes have never seen an iron. Men have gone from an open collar shirt & jacket to athletic wear. Some women come dressed as if they just stepped off a treadmill.

Why come into the house of the Lord wearing just any old thing? Do you suppose the Magi, who came to visit Jesus after He was born, wore wrinkled, oversized, tattered clothing? Sure the shepherds wore working garb, but that’s all they had and it was their best.

If your very best presentation before the Lord is jeans and a tee shirt, then by all means, come to the table and sup; but if you can do better – wear your best. Men and women who own cattle ranches & farms in the southwest know how to make a pair of jeans and a cowboy hat look real choice on a Sunday morning.

Remember “Little House on the Prairie” and other shows from the past where the children (and parents) had their “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes that they took care of and wore just on Sundays or special occasions?

It’s bad (and that doesn’t mean good) when you see more glitz and glam or ‘so-called fashion dressing’ at a high school basketball game (5 inch stilettos, false eyelashes and more weave than you could imagine) than you would see coming into the house of God. Recall how people dressed to go to a club, well that’s what you may see. {Please put your rocks down} There’s nothing wrong with a little enhancement, but when your attire at a high school ball game looks more like a ‘wanna-be red carpet event’ – something’s amiss. Is this only happening in Jacksonville, Florida?

It’s a little extreme, but the money that went into those outfits could be spent on a couple of mix-and-match (conservative, everyday) outfits. You like “name brand” merchandise? Designer fashions can be found at ‘thrift shops’, ‘resale stores’, ‘outlet malls’ and ‘vintage shops’. Also, going to a department store when merchandise is 50 – 75% off (and if you wait you can sometimes catch an addition 25% off of the sale price) is a good economical thing. Bargains can be found in these stores. Budget your money for something that won’t fall apart in the first wash.

What ever happen to the phrase, “Dress for Success”? Do we not want to be successful when coming to church? What are we showing others if we don’t give them something to strive for?

Even in the business world, Swiss bank “UBS” has revamped its dress code handbook on the importance of impressing customers with a polished presence and sense of Swiss precision and decorum. Is there anything wrong with wanting to impress God with the way we come before His presence?

Days of “white gloves” are long gone and “hats” have almost been eradicated. There use to be a time when women would always wear something on their heads until we discovered that our hair was a covering. So hats went bye-bye. Coming to church doesn’t have to imitate a fashion show, nevertheless; put on your ‘Sunday Best’.

There is even a television show named “Sunday Best”. Would you want to watch something entitled “Sunday Worst”? Neither would the King of Kings. He deserves our utmost Best. Why use attire to be a deciding factor for coming to church anyway? Yes, it’s true that man looks at the outward appearance; notwithstanding, God sees a man’s heart (I Sam. 16:7). But would you want to be like the person who is “barely making it” or would you like to be that prominent individual the others want to follow (as you follow Christ)?

Have you noticed how TV anchor people, sports casters and some entertainers dress on the air? They’re dressed in shirt, ties, and suits. Would you want to hear what they have to say if they were wearing ‘casual attire’? Would you take them seriously? Maybe – but why risk the chance? Other areas besides Jacksonville, Florida may be seeing these changes too. Is your area one of them?

A long time ago, men would go to church to find a well-dressed young woman to meet and consider dating and bringing home to Mama. Would a pair of Nike’s turn them on today? Oh, maybe the places have been reversed from the church to the gymnasium.

This writer is privileged to attend some exclusive cultural spots in Jacksonville and people come “dressed to the hilt”; so why short change God just for comforts sake? If you desire to dress down – then at least go Business Casual.

Let it be understood that we never pass judgment on someone when they don’t have something nice to wear – that’s the time to be charitable and be tactful in giving a person something. It should be something that you would want to wear. How you present the gift to the person is another thing. Get to know them first and don’t think of them as a person ‘needing a handout’. (It’s not good to be prideful, but everyone should have a little pride - VJP)

So let’s give God our “Sunday Best” and reflect the light. He is a God that will supply for all of His children, but the children have to desire those good and perfect gifts that are given freely to us. You’ve got to show what God is doing for you in order for others to desire those blessings. Don’t just hoard blessings – give some away. What do you have to say???