Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Proverbs 31:22 Tis a gift to be simple

She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

There is a way of thinking in some Christian groups, that followers of Christ should be clothed in extremely simple, even dated apparel. They shun the current styles; they seem to want to look as if they are very, very poor.
Then there are the folks who appear very ostentatious; their clothing is the best and most up to date, and sometimes is very showy. Sometimes their apparel is gaudy, but always expensive.

Isn't there a happy medium in there somewhere? (My grandma used that term . . . it is not describing a gleeful leader of a seance, but describes the middle ground that can lead to satisfaction and contentment!)

Let's dive in and see if we can find that middle ground!

Purple was a color much coveted in the ancient world. Only the most wealthy could afford clothing in that hue, and many times it was reserved for royalty.

Purple thread was used in the construction of the fabrics for the Tabernacle in the book of Numbers; this was a color which was associated with luxury and divinity in the ancient cultures.

In Luke, we find, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. (Luke 16:19)  And in Revelation, we see that "fine linen" is reserved for special occasions and uses, "Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Rev. 19:8)  White linen was of a very fine texture, and was highly esteemed for apparel.

I think that we can see here that the wife of Proverbs 31 dresses herself in a way that becomes her station -- she is avoiding the extremes of shabbiness, or assumed simplicity, and the alternate extreme of ostentatious luxury. She didn't think she would appear more spiritual because her clothes were super simple, and she didn't wish to flaunt her wealth by being showily luxurious. She found the middle ground!

I found a quotation from the late 1500's that summed up what I am stumbling around trying to say:
 "For my own part," says St. Francois de Sales, quoted by Lesetre, "I should wish any devout man or woman always to be the best dressed person in the company, but at the same time, the least fine and affected, and adorned, as it is said, with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. St. Louis said that every one ought to dress according to his position, so that good and sensible people should not be able to say you are overdressed, nor the younger under dressed" ('Vie Devot.,' 3:25). 

My grandma always told me that it didn't matter if I had a new dress to wear to church, as long as it was clean and not "hole-y".....that God looked on me to see if I knew and loved Jesus, and that made me "holy."  I think she was right.
We should try to dress in ways that reflect well on our testimony, I believe. We should avoid long faces and purposeful shabbiness in the same way that we avoid purposeful showiness. Our countenance, a happy face and spirit, is what makes us "best dressed."
We wear the purple fabric of royalty, no matter if we are wearing green or yellow or polka dots or plaid. God looks at us to see if the blood of Christ has cleansed us. He makes us fellow heirs by bestowing His righteousness upon us.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  Romans 8:17

1 comment:

Belinda said...

I always told my children growing up, "As much as God did for us, the least we can do is dress up for church." And I've always continued that, wearing the best I have, but nothing fancy. There is a growing trend to wear jeans and tees to church. While I'm not against that in order to bring in the sheep, I do think God deserves a little more effort in our dress. Now if that is all we can afford, or all we have, then it is truly enough.

There is also the saying about judging a book by its cover. Just because tees and jeans are all we have, doesn't mean we aren't purple inside. :P

Good post Jacque!