Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sharp Dressed Man

Thanks to Jean and Jos A Bank, I am at the pinnacle of my clothing career. Clothes and me have sometimes had an adversarial relationship as you can read in this devotional from November 7, 2005. 

Yesterday was a special day at my congregation- we had Westbury Christian School Day at Westbury Church of Christ. We spend several weeks inviting our students and their families to Sunday morning worship followed by lunch. Many of our male faculty members take an active role in the service. My part was to read Scripture, from Job 14, before the sermon. We were also asked to dress nicely. My Sunday clothes' routine is consistent- khaki pants, Oxford shirt, tie, and brown loafers. For this special occasion, I went the extra mile. I wore a gray suit, white shirt, black lace up shoes, and a Tommy Hilfiger tie, courtesy of Antonia Spence. The reaction to my attire was amazing. I can't tell you how many people commented how nice I looked. My Chinese brothers and sisters especially were impressed. (I work in our Chinese ministry, being in charge of the Lord's Supper each Sunday and preaching once per month.) The funny thing was, no one complimented Dr. Robert Farrar who was also wearing a suit. Doc, who doubles as our Westbury Christian School chaplain, also preaches for the Chinese. Doc ALWAYS wears a suit. There was no change in him. He looked like he always looks. On the other hand, I had a radically different appearance. Although I felt and acted the same, my Christian family perceived a changed man. Sometimes it doesn't take much.

After a trip to the barber, my students invariably ask if I got a haircut. My response is always, "Does it look good?" If their answer is affirmative, then I got a haircut. We want others to notice that there is some positive alteration in our appearance. Women can change men. One of my roommates when I started teaching was a college friend, Hoyt 'Chipper' Parks. He and I were similar in how we presented ourselves, not exactly slobs but not exactly GQ either. Hair disheveled, clothes rumpled and not quite matching, we were the Oscar Madisons of Dasher, Georgia. Love intervened. Chipper married Debbie and Chipper became a new man. His hair took on a more expensive cut and his shirts, pants, and shoes had some fashion relationship to each other. I was left behind with no Debbie to coordinate my life. Chipper slipped effortlessly into marital bliss and wardrobe respectability.

Clothing played a role in the Bible. The first confrontation over sin involved Adam and Eve's ensemble, or lack thereof. The priests of Israel were told very specifically what to put on when ministering before the Lord. There are references in Revelation concerning the wearing of robes in heaven. My favorite scripture on the subject was penned by Paul in Galatians 3:27: "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ." That's the best outfit ever- CLOTHED WITH CHRIST! If people notice when I put on a suit and dress pants, shouldn't they really be overwhelmed if Jesus is my apparel? I can do a much better job of presenting myself in the Lord's brand. I define what I wear by the logos- Dockers, Polo, Nike, etc. My designer labels could use a upgrade to a spiritual theme. Our students at Westbury Christian wear school uniforms and I would be lying if I said most liked it. But in their uniforms, we can tell who they are and that they belong. That's the way it should be with Christians. That verse in Galatians tells us that when we are clothed with Christ, we are sons of God- WE BELONG! At a gathering of relatives in Arkansas this July, my Uncle Jack and Aunt Jerry gave all of us Chesshir reunion T-shirts. It showed we were part of the family. Nobody else had those T-shirts- they were unique (and I mean REALLY unique!) We know Paul was speaking metaphorically about clothing but when Jesus truly becomes our life, he might as well be a second set of skin. Will the world notice the new creature we have become? They will have no choice.

A post script to yesterday: One of my Christian sisters cornered me at the back of the auditorium and offered this profound bit of commentary as she noticed my top button unbuttoned as always:

" I can tell you aren't married. No wife is going to let you go up there looking like that!" 

Applicable quote of the day:
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
Mark Twain

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Devin Turner said...

Let the light of the Lord always be seen through you! You shouldn't have to tell people that you are a christian they should be able to see it when they see you! That's what i've always been taught and that's what i hope to one day teach!!

Krahnin said...

That was a nice post coach. And i agree with you that the uniforms are good in showing that we belong together as a group under the Lord's name. (whispers) But that doesn't mean that i like them.

By the way this is Chris Milner.

Victoria said...

Hey Coach Hawley, wassup? hope ur havin' a good day. goodness i can't wait to just go home and sleep. i'm really sleepy. Well talk 2 ya later,

BigJohn Castillo said...

waz up coach its me John nice site see u in class

Chelsey said...

hey coach, ummm.... nice class today. yea ok well i cant really think of anything else to say so yea i guess ill just talk to ya later
- Chelsey

Chelsey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peterinhouston said...

Thanks for your work with our Chinese congregation. Beliver it or not, the apparent dress will mean much more information than it does to the westbury church people you mentioned, most Chinese people will judge or evaluate a person through what he wear or what he use. So, this give us a hint, also as you said, we Christian need behavior ourself and let people feel we are above median.

Bev said...

Oh I had a chuckle over the Chipper story. I am sure you look great all the time--that inner glow takes over! Love you just the way you are...Beverly

Miss President said...

Hey Coach nice blog! Oh & btw I took That picture!!

-Ozy xoxo

Miss President said...

I almost 4got my blog name is