I ironed a shirt that nobody saw.
Last night as I prepared for today I ironed a bark blue dress shirt for my black suit matched with a yellow/blue patterned tie. I knew that today I would be dressing for a funeral.
It was a graveside gathering and with the thermometer barely reaching 25 degrees I decided to bundle: a new scarf and an oversized black pea coat.
After the funeral I stopped by a local elementary school where our church was distributing Christmas gifts to kiddos. Lots of high fives, eye only conversations above our masks and several thank you’s to CrossPoint volunteers.
Later, I stopped for coffee and to take some time work on a sermon scheduled for a pre-record laterthis week, but got distracted by some important “divine interruptions” that helped me catch up on some people’s lives.
It was a good morning.
Then it was home to change out of the suit and enjoy the rest of my day off (wink wink).
As I was changing, there was that blue shirt matched to the yellow tie.
It had been buried under suit coat, scarf, and pea coat. No one had seen it, except for me.
If find it odd that I could have done all of those morning activities shirtless and no one would have known, but even though no one saw it... I was prepared.
So much of the Christian life is to be done in the same way, especially if you call yourself a Christian leader.
The prayer, the devotion, the study, the struggle, the tears, the effort... all done in the background, layered under what others actually see, but essential preparation none the less.
Not every insight needs to be posted.
Not every thought need to be given voice.
Not every discovery is for the world.
Sometimes, and often times, it’s the preparation of the shirt you wear that no one else can see. It’s your strength, your foundation, your credibility.
I remember being told as a young preacher, you should study enough that what you preach is only the top 10 percent of what you’ve learned... the rest is for you.
Why, you might ask?
Because you might pull it off for a while, you know, going around unprepared and shirtless under the overcoat that gives the illusion you’re all put together. Offering the world every bit of you and the very best of you, but you know you’re now exhausted, empty, with nothing left.
Your outward display was everything you had, and underneath you are naked and exposed.
You see, eventually there will come some heat... the coat will come off... and, then you and everyone will see... you should have taken some time to iron a shirt.
Christian (especially leaders), don’t over extend, or think too much of yourself. Instead, humble yourself before others not thinking yourself better, nor trying to present yourself as something beyond what you are.
Instead, prepare yourself so that what the world sees of you is the overflow of what that which you are filled.
Enjoy the sweetness of daily time with God, be quick to listen and slow to speak (especially to your elders), practice the discipline of shut-up-ed-ness, and treat everyone with respect... you have no idea what they might be wearing under that coat.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
- Matthew 6:2–4 (ESV)
Monday, December 14, 2020
This should be a short author profile.