LIFE MATTERS

How to dress for success

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mrs. Sweetie and I were having lunch recently when we got a good chuckle.

A young couple was at the register to pay their bill. The man was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Tattooed AND Employed.” Good for him!

I have heard the following advice many times: “Dress for the job you want, not for the one you have.” That reminds me of a fellow student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the 1980′s who wore a suit and tie to class every day to show that he was serious about his studies.

I wasn’t that serious about studies. About God, yes. About studies, not enough to wear a suit and tie every day. Even in my years as a pastor, folks pretty much knew that if they saw me in a suit and tie on a weekday, someone was deceased.

As I was leaving for my first interview with the team that was selecting a director for Harvest Baptist Association (my current job), Mrs. Sweetie said, “Are you wearing that?” My response: “Yep! I don’t want this job.” Of course, now that I am six years into this job that I really love, I know that I would have made a much worse impression if I had worn a suit and tie.

There are at least three truths about me and clothes. One is that I probably have more clothes than the average man. I’m not sure why and I don’t spend much time worrying about it.

The second truth is that probably 90 percent of my clothes came from thrift stores or garage sales. I do require that my underwear comes in an unopened package, but pretty much everything else is open.

The third truth explains both of the other two: I would rather spend my money on other things besides clothes. This is why I have 10 golf shirts that cost me a total of less than $50 instead of one that cost more than $50. And if I wear a different one every time I play golf, those 10 shirts will last me for about 15 years before I start repeating.

Did you know that the Bible talks about dressing for success?

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes … the belt of truth buckled around your waist … the breastplate of righteousness in place … feet fitted with the readiness … the shield of faith … the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17).

The job I want is not so much about location as it is about preparation. Our lives matter so much to God that He is more interested in our success as Christ-followers than our success in the job market.

Now that I have my “under armor” – which previously-owned shirt looks good for today?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.

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