What do you wear to worship? Does it matter? Does God care?
– by Adam Faughn
I recently conducted two separate funerals for two men I greatly admire. There are many things these men have in common. They both lived past their 90th year. They were both very faithful Christians. They both came to worship every time the doors were open. They both were great Christian patriarchs. And finally, they both always wore a suit and tie.
We live in a culture that hates tradition, especially if it is a tradition tied to anything having to do with the church. The new generation is so bent against tradition that now even musical instruments, the woman’s role, and yes, homosexuality, are considered as subjects that have been in the past decided on tradition rather than on Scripture. So when it comes to what we wear to worship, forget about it! It is hardly considered anymore. Most people would just say wear whatever you want – it is not about what is on the outside – it is what is on the inside that counts. (This is already what some of you are saying to yourself as you begin to read this article).
Now before I sound, may I say it, like your grandmother, will you please give me the benefit of the doubt? Would we ever judge a person who enters the assembly by their clothing? I hope not. I have read James 2. Would we also be concerned with people putting on airs or making a public display of their wealth? Certainly. I have also read 1 Peter 3. Would we ever bind what God has not bound? Never. Again, I have read Matthew 15. And yet we cannot just say that the outside doesn’t matter. What is on the outside does matter to some point, because it can reflect a great deal about what is present on the inside.
When I saw these two men in worship every Sunday, what they wore spoke to me. Their attire told me they felt like an appointment with God was a suit and tie occasion. They showed me without a word that God deserved their best. They exemplified grace and holiness and purity. They did not dress-down for an approach to the throne. They came as if the president were at the table. They happily agreed within their hearts that the outside was going to reflect what they intended to offer to God from within. They also understood that they were not by their clothing going to draw attention from others to themselves and away from God.
I cannot tell you that I remember the color of their suits and ties. I truly don’t recall even one in particular. But I do remember seeing that they were gentlemen. I do recall thinking that they were serious. I do remember that I was honored to be worshiping with men who loved the Lord so much that they would come before Him with such reverence. I recall knowing that it took more than just rolling out of bed for these men to arrive for worship dressed that way.
Are you required to wear a suit and tie on Sunday? No. But is there a dress code for worship? Yes. You wear what a Christian would wear. You wear what you would wear in the presence of Jesus. You give your best. You do not distract others. You wear a smile. You wear an attitude of reverence and humility and awe and thankfulness and adoration for God.
You don’t just wear these things because these are the right things to wear. You wear them because these are the things a holy and righteous and loving and saving God deserves.
“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” – Proverbs 3:9
Adam Faughn is the preacher for the 9th Avenue church of Christ in Haleyville, Alabama, and is a contributor to the Legacy of Faith website.