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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Does Jesus Care About How We Dress?

I wonder if Jesus really cares how we dress. Would he care if we were so , unaware of how we present ourselves to our fellow churchgoers or to the world? Or would he cast a disapproving eye at the well-dressed?

Appearance appears to be a big deal in our society, and people are often judged by how they present themselves, especially people in entertainment and the media. Do you think Jesus, if he were truly us, would approve of the big diamond crosses with his body hanging on them in platinum gold, next to the guns and money signs? Do you think Jesus would approve of us wearing three thousands dollars suits to worship Him in a building that won't allow the homeless shelter from the cold?

I wonder what Jesus would do if he were presented with an Armani suit? Would he return the gift for money and give it to the poor? Or would he happily accept it and go about His Father business?
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7 comments :

  1. Hello there!

    This is a good topic.

    First of all, I think that class jealousy and class resentments are displeasing to God and I see A LOT of that in the church construct. Those who are from poor backgrounds are usually the first to attempt to ask "would Jesus approve of a $5 million home for this pastor?"

    I am NOT HARDLY saying that is where you are coming from, Annie. Not at all.

    I am just mentioning that there are plenty of church folks who are jealous that other blacks have attained prosperity that they don't have....and forget that those blacks have usually acquired academic credentials and have spent decades to prepare for the careers that are now providing 6-figure incomes.

    I have met plenty of black women who didn't bother to get much education and they are CONSTANTLY looking at someone else's purchases....that sista in the pew who has a new Lexus...that newlywed who has a 4-carat diamond.

    My friend's husband bought her a $75,000 wedding ring and guess who the first one's were to scoff? The women in church whose husbands could not provide.

    Are they really focused on what would Jesus think....or are they really trying to cover up for their own jealousies?

    Even with that said, Annie, I do see your point about flamboyance. My former Bishop is a millionaire preacher who is very flamboyant about his material possessions. He grew up poor. He thinks that his material possessions signify to others that he is favored by God. He also thinks that his clothes make a statement that he only accepts the best in life.

    Now I know you are probably thinking what I am thinking...*smiles*...but I just wanted to reveal the mentality that is behind some of these intentionally flamboyant ones.

    Sorry for the length of this. I hope I said something that matters to the discussion!! *smiles*

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the Bible there were plenty of people who were "blessed" or rewarded with wealth. At the same time, Jesus was very much in favor of helping the poor and demanded that those who have help those who do not have.
    I have to admit, with such poverty and so much need in black communities I too would be very uncomfortable seeing a parishoner with a $75,000 ring. Unless of course that person was tithing, had done their share toward making sure the church was doing good for the community.
    NOT taking up money for the building fund, but making sure they had a food pantry, a clothing pantry, assistance programs for utilities etc, free summer lunch and daycare programs for the poor.

    My problem with spending so much money on clothing and jewelry is that it is WORTHLESS. A ring feeds noone, clothes no one, educates no one. It is a huge investment of resources that could be used for purposes other than decoration. Because to be perfectly honest, a cubic zirconium of the same size and style would look and BE identical and cost way less. People spend the extra money for status.

    My 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is an important difference between being flashy and materialistic and making money. One is the "love of money" one is simply having a high paying occupation. Also there is a difference between buying something that is more expensive because it is durable - and you wish to keep it for a long time and buying something that is just expensive and has no longitudinal advantage.

    I actually think in the case of the woman who bought the 75,000 ring, she/is was sinning. For a couple of reasons. First off, a ring that cost more than what most Americans make in a year is ridiculous. It surpasses expensive. That is by no means being a good steward of your money. This selfishness, neglect of the needy around you and lack of stewardship is one of the reasons Israel went into captivity and one of the main features of prophetic condemnation.

    Second, she has a responsibility to not cause her sisters and brothers to fall. The heart of this second point is the fact that she has a responsibility to her brothers and sisters regardless of if the sin or not through their jealous. We shouldn't do something that is going to cause those around us to slip. If that means by a Honda instead of a Lexus, put your pride down and by a Honda.

    I question the suggestion that people question others riches because they can't make as much money or are jealous. I do think that is apart of the issue, but I know I question someone when they buy an expensive item - and I am not a poor person. It is not that I am jealous, but I don't believe that is the way we are to use our money. We need to leave space to acknowledge that poorer people can make that same call about richer people's purchases without being "jealous" I think that is too easy an assumption.

    Those that were blessed with wealth were also charged to use it for a reason. Lydia basically supported the church in Phillipi because she was a buisnesswoman who was making all kinds of money. She mad a lot of money, but she didn't flaunt it.

    Question - since when were pastors supposed to make a lot of money and be flashy? That is not jointly suffering, that is not serving, that is not setting an example, that is being an extortionist.There is a humility hat should come from the pastorate, not an arrogance.

    And this question "would Jesus approve of a $5 million home for this pastor?" is not a poor person's question, it is asked by poor and rich a like that see something wrong in the way some pastors advantage themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To answer the question posed in the post, I don't think Jesus would care either way -- because it's all about your intentions. If you can afford an Armani suit while still tithing and helping your community (not always financially) I don't think Jesus would frown on "spoiling" yourself (relatively speaking); however I do think He would pause at those of us who do so just to show off, especially at church.

    As for wealth, it is true that many people in the Bible were blessed by God with wealth, but a)they defined wealth VERY differently from how we do it (for example, with animals that they needed to eat... when we start valuing wealth in terms of things we NEED maybe we can fairly compare ourselves) and b)There's nowhere in the Bible that says blessings will come in monetary form (not that anyone thus far has said that, but it's an easy point to come to in these discussions).

    Additionally, as blackwomenblowthetrumpet discusses, we overlook how people got what they have. God blesses us with MUCH and it's up to us to make sure we use it to it's greatest potential. Like the parable of the talents; a rich man who gave his servants money to do as they wished with it -- one buried it, the other two doubled theirs. Some of us are the one who buried it, we don't want to go to school, do the work and achieve greatness (I use "school" here to represent a lot, not just they physical act of getting an education) -- that's easy, but of the two who doubled it, one had 2 talents and the other had 5; too many of us are the one with 2 looking at the one with 5 and pissed because he can double his and get 10 while we're stuck doubling and only getting 4... always looking at what we don't have and never using it to get more.

    I feel like I've gone off on a tangent here, but I guess ultimately, I surely wish we'd all focus more on Christ and his plans for su and how that relates to helping, encouraging and doing right by one another than how that relates to how much "stuff" (that we can't take with us) we have... and also judging others by how much stuff they don't have.

    As an aside, I'm often perturbed by pastors/leaders of churches who do a lot of flaunting of their wealth; I fail to see how that's ever appropriate...

    ReplyDelete
  5. What about the SOURCE of that $75,000 diamond? Would Jeuss approve of a diamond (in reality a shiny rock) that caused so much death and conflict in Africa if the diamond is of African origin?

    IN the book of Acts the iniital believers made sure that none of the Way were without. I think that we should really try to live ina manner that does indeed consider others. Let's face it many, MANY of our purchases are with the impressions of others in mind. I don't think it is wron gto have a diamond ting but is it neccessary to have one in order to be married? Does it truly represent a godly commitment?
    We are encouraged in scripture by Christ to ask for daily bread. Food and raimnent is what an apostle writes is enough. I think the implication of that is not more than what is necessary. How many of us can claim freedom from the Kingdom of Thingdom?
    THe Honda vs Lexus example is one I choose to live by. My wife and I have rings that I make sure have not meant the death of another human being. Blood guilt is never pretty or fashionable in ANY carat weight.
    PS Paying a tithe does not fully obligate you to the kingdom of GOD If I pay my tithe and you pay yours we don't need to do anything else? My income may mandate that I have a greater responsibility than another to use my finances for the growth of the kingdom and the alleviation of suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In the Bible there were plenty of people who were "blessed" or rewarded with wealth. At the same time, Jesus was very much in favor of helping the poor and demanded that those who have help those who do not have.
    I have to admit, with such poverty and so much need in black communities I too would be very uncomfortable seeing a parishoner with a $75,000 ring. Unless of course that person was tithing, had done their share toward making sure the church was doing good for the community.
    NOT taking up money for the building fund, but making sure they had a food pantry, a clothing pantry, assistance programs for utilities etc, free summer lunch and daycare programs for the poor.

    My problem with spending so much money on clothing and jewelry is that it is WORTHLESS. A ring feeds noone, clothes no one, educates no one. It is a huge investment of resources that could be used for purposes other than decoration. Because to be perfectly honest, a cubic zirconium of the same size and style would look and BE identical and cost way less. People spend the extra money for status.

    My 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello there!

    This is a good topic.

    First of all, I think that class jealousy and class resentments are displeasing to God and I see A LOT of that in the church construct. Those who are from poor backgrounds are usually the first to attempt to ask "would Jesus approve of a $5 million home for this pastor?"

    I am NOT HARDLY saying that is where you are coming from, Annie. Not at all.

    I am just mentioning that there are plenty of church folks who are jealous that other blacks have attained prosperity that they don't have....and forget that those blacks have usually acquired academic credentials and have spent decades to prepare for the careers that are now providing 6-figure incomes.

    I have met plenty of black women who didn't bother to get much education and they are CONSTANTLY looking at someone else's purchases....that sista in the pew who has a new Lexus...that newlywed who has a 4-carat diamond.

    My friend's husband bought her a $75,000 wedding ring and guess who the first one's were to scoff? The women in church whose husbands could not provide.

    Are they really focused on what would Jesus think....or are they really trying to cover up for their own jealousies?

    Even with that said, Annie, I do see your point about flamboyance. My former Bishop is a millionaire preacher who is very flamboyant about his material possessions. He grew up poor. He thinks that his material possessions signify to others that he is favored by God. He also thinks that his clothes make a statement that he only accepts the best in life.

    Now I know you are probably thinking what I am thinking...*smiles*...but I just wanted to reveal the mentality that is behind some of these intentionally flamboyant ones.

    Sorry for the length of this. I hope I said something that matters to the discussion!! *smiles*

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete