I went shopping for shoes, but couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I wound up buying something else. Does that happen to you? Sure it does. I remember going to the Squire Shop a hundred years ago and looking to buy a tie. I got a tie alright. Charles Willis, who could sell ice to an Eskimo, sold me a suit to match.
Like I said, I went to buy some shoes. When I didn’t find any I liked, I got this itch to buy something. I’m like most males in that I don’t like to shop. So, why waste a trip? Since I had already spent the energy to get to the store, and since I had set aside some money for a purchase, why not? That’s when I saw the shorts and shirts on sale. The shorts caught my eye first; they were gray and white striped. In hind sight, they sort of resembled prison garb. I got a black golf shirt to match, and I felt pretty good about my purchases.
I felt pretty good until I asked my then teenage son, his opinion. “You’re not going to wear that out in public are you?” It just so happened that he had a couple of friends coming over. I held out hope that they wouldn’t diss my shorts too. But alas, they both said, almost as if rehearsed, “Mr. Steve, they are fine as long as you don’t wear them outside.” Ouch!
So, I got no shoes, and I had shorts that I am embarrassed to wear when I go to the mailbox. Why should I have cared what a bunch of teenagers thought about my shorts? I shouldn’t have, but I did. I don’t want to look like a dork any more than you do. Nor do I ever want to embarrass my kids. Sheri thought the shorts were OK, but her opinion didn’t matter since she took vows years ago to love me in spite of bad decisions or bad shorts.
I was very self-conscious about those shorts; sort of like when I was a teenager and I went to a dance and thought that everyone was watching me dance. It didn’t matter that they weren’t. You couldn’t convince me of that then, and neither could you have convinced me that folk weren’t staring at those shorts, shorts that looked like they were issued by San Quinton State Penitentiary.
There is a little bit of vanity in all of us. We took a family picture over Christmas with the four of us—Tyler, his wife Caroline, Natalie, and me. Before I could object Natalie had posted it on Facebook. I told her that I hate the picture; it makes me look like a beached whale. Why didn’t one of them tell me to hold in my stomach and straighten my shoulders? Most of us care how we look in public. Have you ever wondered why we put shutters only on the front of houses? It’s the same reason I never wore those shorts in public. They are still sitting, very lonely, in my closet.
Maybe if I were really a Christian, I wouldn’t care what other people think about me or how I look or how I dress. I don’t imagine that Jesus fretted too much over the latest fashion or whether or not he passed the “cool” test. I wonder if deeply spiritual people are so wrapped up in things spiritual that they don’t have time to fret over shorts. If so, then I obviously don’t fit into that category.
I know what the Bible says. It says that “man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). As a Christian, I should strive to be more like Christ. That shopping for shoes adventure reminds me that I still have a ways to go.
~ Pastor Steve