I was in my exercise class at the gym when I noticed the t-shirt. It had a catchy slogan with a scripture reference. “How neat”, I thought to myself. I really liked the shirt and I wanted to take a picture to send to my husband, but for the sake of seeming overzealous, I decided not to. Then I noticed the back of the shirt. It included a scripture and the name of the church I believed the woman wearing it attended. Awesome! I now had a perfect excuse to approach a complete stranger. But, timing is everything.
As our class came to a close, I decided to approach this woman and ask her about her shirt and church. I let her know I liked her shirt and asked if her church was local. Her response stunned me. She said, “No. It’s in _________ (a town 5 minutes away).” She then turned and walked away. I stood there for a moment completely dumbfounded. Speechless. My mind was racing. Why would she say her church isn't local when it’s less than five miles away? Why wouldn't she tell me more about her church? Why did she just leave me standing there mouth hanging wide open in shock?
The questions kept coming and they became increasingly disturbing. I finally had to convince myself to let it go, I could, in fact, be overreacting. I’m absolutely sure this woman didn’t intentionally snub me. I’m certain it was an oversight. We had just completed an intense workout and she was probably as exhausted as I was. Despite my intent to brush it off, I found myself murmuring under my breath, “I’m more than a t-shirt”.
Then it struck me, it was my assumption that this woman would be approachable, friendly even. I was disappointed because she wasn’t. It was the expectation that the slogan, scripture, and church title somehow screamed, “Talk to me”. I thought about how many times I've walked by people with their Christian shirts on, and admired the artwork, scripture, and/or slogan. I thought about how many times I've seen one of these t-shirts and the message ministered to me, and how my own personal testimony could somehow be summed up on one shirt; and, how many times I said to myself, “I've got to get one of those t-shirts”.
Reality came crashing down on me. What if I was an unbeliever, who saw a stranger in a Christian t-shirt and reached out to them, only to be discouraged when I left their presence? What would happen if a man or woman was desperately searching for a church to visit and although I proudly displayed my place of worship, I never extended the invitation? How many countless people see our Christian t-shirts but when they encounter us they don’t see Christ?
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 NASB)
I am more than a t-shirt. I’m called to be the salt of the earth, and the light of the world; to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that I have. My t-shirt may grab someone’s attention, but it is my testimony that shares the message of God’s love. This incident impressed upon me that I need to be mindful of my interactions with others, especially those who approach me about my Christian t-shirt.
Kingdom Branded™ aspires to inspire and encourage others by developing quality products with a Kingdom message for the entire family. We understand that we are walking billboards for Christ. We design our t-shirts to share our personal testimonies and to be a catalyst for conversations about our faith.