If I Need to Wear the T-Shirt
And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. Genesis 7:5
If I wear a Minnesota Vikings t-shirt, you don’t assume that I’m claiming to be a member of the team. I’m simply a fan. If, however, I wear a t-shirt that says ATHLETE, I’m claiming something about myself. Well, it just so happens that I have several ATHLETE t-shirts from CrossFit competitions, where the t-shirts always have either ATHLETE or CREW printed on the back. I don’t think anything of it when I pick one out of the pile, but perhaps I should. Recently, at a local store, an acquaintance saw my shirt and asked, Athlete? That’s wishful thinking, isn’t it? Honestly, I was a little hurt. He proceeded to tell me he could set me up with a personal trainer if I wanted. Sigh. Stupid shirt.
This got me thinking about my ATHLETE shirts. I’m not making a conscious statement when I wear them, but nevertheless, it appears to others that I am. Wow, he thinks he’s an athlete and he needs to let everyone know. It’s probably one of those things that if I must wear the t-shirt so that others know, then I’m doing something wrong. If being an athlete is central to my life, then there will be ample evidence, and my behaviors and body will reflect that reality. Likewise, if sitting on the couch and eating donuts is important, then that will be obvious as well, and putting an ATHLETE t-shirt on a sedentary lifestyle won’t fool anyone.
There’s an important lesson here for us as Christians. In today’s passage, we read that Noah did everything that God asked of him. Noah followed God and it showed in behaviors that radically set him apart from the rest of the world. He didn’t have to dress up on Sunday. He didn’t have to wear a JEHOVAH t-shirt. Anyone watching simply knew that Noah lived a profoundly different life. It was apparent to all that Noah didn’t live for himself, but that he lived for a higher purpose.
Can the same be said about us? Is it obvious to anyone watching that we follow Christ? Would those who know us Monday through Friday even be aware that we go to church on Sunday? Or is Sunday morning, like my ATHLETE t-shirt, the only superficial evidence we have of following Christ? It’s not wrong to talk about our faith, but if we have to verbally tell others that we’re Christians, then we’re doing it wrong. If following Christ is important to us, it will be obvious in our thoughts, words, and actions. Likewise, if we live only for ourselves, that will also be apparent, and putting a CHRISTIAN t-shirt on a self-centered life, won’t fool anyone.