“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”
—Jesus (Matthew 6:28-30, NIV)
Why do we worry about clothes? Ever since Adam and Eve’s sin made them ashamed of their nakedness, there’s something about the subject of clothing that makes people a little tetchy. Just ask, “Is it OK to wear this?” and everybody will chime in with an opinion until you’re too dizzy to care.
Jesus, of course, was talking to people who were worried about whether they’d be able to get any clothes at all, helping them remember God’s faithfulness to provide. Lots of other things make people worried about clothes, though. Am I overdressed? Am I underdressed? Is this tie too geeky? Will that skirt be too chilly? Is this too revealing? Will that cause a brother to stumble, or will he stumble on his own? Why exactly is it so horrible to wear white after Labor Day? And of course the all-time classic: Does this make me look fat?
Living under a system of rules is a great recipe for worry. Especially religious rules: if you have to do the right thing to glorify God, what if you do the wrong thing? Yet most Bible teachings about clothing are crammed with moralistic, rules-based readings of Scripture, especially once they get to “modesty.” I think we’ve missed the point.