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Dressing for the Glory of God
Sometimes we get the idea that Christian stewardship is mainly about paying our tithes and offerings, but it’s much more than that. The truth is, we are the stewards of whatever God has entrusted to us—whether it is a little or a lot. As stewards, we have a responsibility to use what we need, and to channel the rest into whatever God calls us to support. “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”1
When it comes to buying clothing, some people shop around and purchase the cheapest things they can find. For some, this may be the best way. For example, children outgrow clothing so quickly it hardly pays to buy top quality unless the item can be worn for two or more seasons—or can be handed down to a sibling or friend.
But later on, growth slows down, and a different plan may be better. Unless we have sudden, drastic body changes (such as going through a pregnancy), we can wear the same clothes for years. This is especially true in seasonal climates, where many items of clothing are worn for only a few months out of a year. In such a case, our clothing can last many years, if it has taste and quality.
Here’s a good rule of thumb when choosing your clothes: “Our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming , and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display.”2
By spending a little time shopping around, we can find clothes that look good, feel wonderful, and are durable. We should choose quality cloth that does not require high upkeep, and a style that is classic. Such clothing may be more expensive to begin with, but it will save time and money over the years. Stay away from faddish styles and : They may look OK for a season, but they will soon be out of style and will make you feel foolish.
Extravagance comes from having more than we need. It is not extravagant to choose quality clothes that fit well and are pleasant and comfortable to wear. But if the wardrobe is filled with so many beautiful, good-quality clothes that we are not able to wear some items for months or even years, it’s time to stop buying and start thinking of someone with whom you might share some of God’s blessings.
If you have everything you need, do not buy again until your need is real. Resist the temptation to buy because there is a good bargain. Do not tempt yourself by window shopping or looking at those catalogues that arrive in the mail nearly every day. You will always see one more thing that you just must have. Do not spend the Lord’s money to satisfy extravagant desires. “Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty.”3
In closing, here is more wise counsel: “Correct taste is not to be despised or condemned. Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress and zealous of good works that we shall be marked as peculiar. But when we lose taste for order and neatness in dress, we virtually leave the truth; for the truth never degrades but elevates.”4
“We should dress neatly and tastefully; but, my sisters, when you are buying and making your own and your children’s clothing, think of the work in the Lord’s vineyard that is still waiting to be done. . . . Practice economy in the outlay of means for dress. Remember that what you wear is constantly exerting an influence upon those with whom you come in contact. Do not lavish upon yourselves means that is greatly needed elsewhere. Do not spend the Lord’s money to gratify a taste for expensive clothing.”5
God’s plan for our lives is always so balanced!
1. 1 Corinthians 4:2. 2. Ellen White, The Ministry of Healing, page 288. 3. White, Child Guidance, page 423. 4. Ibid., page 420, 421. 5. Ibid.
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