True Greatness (Understanding Adornment Biblically)

It’s always interesting to me how much of Jesus’ teaching is completely counter-intuitive! Who would have thought that in order to gain your life, you must give it up? Who would have thought that you are blessed if you are persecuted for righteousness sake? Who would have thought that the way to be supplied with everything you need is to give your money and possessions away to the poor? Yet, somehow, strange as it may sound, there’s something really intriguing and appealing to me about every one of Jesus’ counter-intuitive teachings. But I must say, the one about becoming great by becoming a servant is especially intriguing to me these days. See Matthew 20:25-28, and Mark 9:33-35 for a synopsis of Jesus’ teaching on this.

What better way to understand what it means to become great by serving than to take a good look at the example that Jesus set for us. Do you remember the last time he ate with his disciples before he was betrayed, how he dressed himself to serve them? Recall how he replaced his outer garment with a towel, poured water into basin and washed the disciples’ feet? He did this as an example, explaining, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”

This is only one of many ways that Jesus served throughout his lifetime, culminating in the greatest act of service: giving his life as a ransom for many. But there was one thing that stood out to me in this particular story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, though. I was impressed with the intentionality that Jesus showed in dressing himself to serve them. I have found that to be a helpful, practical thing to imitate.

As women identified with Christ, what do we typically think about when it comes to how we dress? Modesty, right? I’ve got news for you: the goal shouldn’t just be modesty alone. The goal according to 1 Timothy 2:9-10 is to adorn ourselves with good works.

Do you ever consider, when you face the clothes in your closet at the beginning of a day, how you might best dress for service? I’m sure you have on occasion, like when you know that you are going to help a friend work on a house project or unload a moving truck. But what about on a normal day?

It’s been super helpful to me to think through this for several reasons. For one, it helps me start out the day with the right mindset. I’m already expecting those opportunities to serve to show up in my day, and I’m essentially deciding ahead of time to take those opportunities.

Secondly, there have been times in my life that I’ve wanted to jump in and serve in certain ways, but have been handicapped by my choice of clothing. If you’re a woman, you probably know what I’m talking about. There are certain things that we can wear that are perfectly modest and can easily remain modest for the whole day, so long as we plan only to socialize and relax. But those same clothing items can also easily become immodest the moment we need to bend over and use both of our hands. I think it’s so worthwhile to make choices ahead of time that will free us up to serve in various ways without worrying about this. It may take some time and energy to build a wardrobe that is conducive to this and also classy, but it is very possible. If Jesus really meant what he said about how to become great (and he always does mean what he says),  don’t you think this is worthwhile pursuit?

-Laura Anne


One thought on “True Greatness (Understanding Adornment Biblically)

  1. Great thoughts! I like the mental image that comes when I stop and consider the idea, “adorn yourself with good works.” Just another one of those phrases which is so full of meaning and which is so easily missed!

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