Appropriately Dressed

The conversation began with a simple question: “What are you girls doing this summer?”

I was at the summer kickoff for youth and children, doing what I normally do at church events: talking with people. The evening’s schedule was a lot of running around, dinner, and a finale of games involving water balloons. Two little girls, ages five and seven, sat off to themselves, examining some blue slime one of them had made earlier in the day. I walked over to them, said “hello,” and asked that one question about their summer plans.

This is what followed:

5-year-old: I’m going to the beach.

7-year-old: I’m going to Florida.

5-year-old to 7-year-old: The beach I’m going to is in Florida.

7-year-old to 5-year-old: I’m going to Florida because the beach is there.

Me: I want to go to the beach.

5-year-old to me: You need a bathing suit at the beach.

Me: I have a bathing suit.

7-year-old to me: Guess what’s on my bathing suit? (Sidenote: she was wearing her bathing suit at the time)

Me (pretending that I couldn’t see): Uh, unicorns?

5-year-old to me: No, she’s wearing watermelons.

Me to 7-year-old: Oh, of course, fruit! Are there pineapples on there, too?

7-year-old to me: Yep, and bananas.

5-year-old to me: My bathing suit has flowers on it. (Sidenote: she was not wearing her bathing suit.)

Me: Mine is tie-dyed.

5-year-old to me: When do we get to throw the water balloons?

Me: After dinner.

7-year-old to me (grinning very suspiciously): I’m going to throw a water balloon at YOU! (She pointed her finger at me firmly on the YOU!)

Me: Oh, boy, good thing you warned me so I can hide.

5-year-old (looking very concerned): Are you wearing your tie-dyed bathing suit under that? (She pointed to my t-shirt /blue jean/sandal ensemble.)

Me: Uh…. no.

7-year-old (looking very confused): What?!

5-year-old: You’re going to get wet.

7-year-old: Yeah, you should wear a bathing suit when there’s a water balloon fight.

Me: So, since I’m not wearing a bathing suit, you won’t throw a water balloon at me, right?

7-year-old (grinning, again): I’m going to throw a water balloon at YOU! (pointing, again)

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
— Colossians 3:12 (The Message)

My young friends were right. I knew there would be water balloons, so why did I not wear the correct “wardrobe?” Paul’s letter to the Colossians is also very practical. God has given us a new “wardrobe” when we choose to follow Christ Jesus so that we can be appropriately dressed for the water balloons life throws at us. The fabric of this “bathing suit” is love. How easy it is, though, to choose other wardrobes made of anger, indifference, apathy, and self-centeredness. Without God’s wardrobe, we end up soaked in the clothes of our own making.

Let us live as a people ready to love at all times, at all costs. Let us put on the garments that God has prepared for us. Let us always be on alert for a water balloon.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian