But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
One of my heroes of faith is Shane Claiborne. He wrote a book called, "Irresistible Revolution" that changed my life. The Lord spoke to me in a powerful way while reading this book and confirmed many things that I had on my heart.
Shane Claiborne tells a story about being invited to speak at a church but when he arrived he was shunned by the church goers. They thought he was a homeless man and stared at him and wouldn't speak to him. They were very surprised when they found out he was the guest speaker.
Because Shane Claiborne has dread-locks to his waist! (I think he's recently cut his hair.) He typically wears baggy jeans and an old work shirt.
But I am so blessed and inspired by him because Shane Claiborne is busy 'being Jesus' to his community. He's feeding the hungry and housing the homeless. He's sharing Jesus to the lost. He's 'being the Church!' And I love him.
I spent my first twenty years of being a believer going to church and believing that I knew what it was all about. I was preoccupied by what I wore to church and disapproved of those that didn't dress well. I sang in the choir and led youth groups. I gave to the building fund and never missed tithing.
And then Jesus began to do a work in my heart and I realized I had missed the mark. And that's sin - right?
Our worship dance ministry had done a 'prayer walk' around our church - circling the church each week and surrounding it with prayer. The Lord had directed us to do this.
And then the Lord convicted my daughter, who was in college at the time, to circle Ferris campus in the same way. About this time she met a young man I'll call Jacob who was on fire for Jesus. The Lord had given him the same conviction so a group of them began to obey the Lord. She would tell me about this group with joy and enthusiasm.
One day, she described Jacob - mohawk, piercings, tattoos - and I was shocked. Laura told me, "Mom, you have a religious spirit!" and I realized it was true. I immediately repented and have never made the same mistake again.
A lot of religious sects get offended by women wearing pants because of the scripture that states that women should not wear men's clothing. You realize, of course, that when this scripture was written, everyone wore 'robes' and they now make pants for women?
So many of the things Christians stumble over are purely cultural. And then they fall into judgment and miss God all together.
A friend told me several years ago after sharing Christ with her son for several years he finally made the decision to visit church. And no one spoke to him while he was there. Because of his appearance. The Word tells us to make the most of every opportunity but we choose to shun people even when they come to church?
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We are called to save the lost. Of course if we never interact with the lost, it's hard to save them. If we are so offended by appearances, or if we expect every Christian to look the same, wear a three piece suit or a dress, we'll miss God all together. Because God sees the heart.
Now I'm not saying that people should not dress modestly. I believe men and women should dress modestly at all times, so please don't misunderstand that. But I think we've got to change our religious thinking and start realizing what's important.
Where did we get the idea that serving Christ means singing in the choir and baking cookies for the congregation. Was that Jesus' final commission to us? It means going out into the streets and meeting real people where they live. It means helping people and sharing the love of Christ. It means sharing your food and your money and working with your hands.
And we might have to leave our three piece suits at home or they'll get dirty.
love and blessings~