64 Shirts

64 t-shirts. How is this possible? How could one person unintentionally acquire 64 short-sleeved t-shirts? That’s the number of t-shirts that call my dresser home. More than I could wear in a month, two months.

On a warmer-than-predicted day, I reached for a black t-shirt only to find two black shirts – the lone difference being that one is a V neck and the other, a scoop neck. Why did I buy essentially the same shirt? Hey, how many t-shirts do I have, anyway?

Sixty-four in total. 

With the evidence stacked in front of me, I was ashamed. A lot of the shirts I casually bought. I didn’t need most of these shirts – the color appealed to me, the price was right, Oh, look, that one has a dog riding in a car. I had, if even in a small way, squandered what God gave me.

But then, I saw the bright orange one that says “Samaritan’s Purse.” I wore it as I helped victims of a wildfire clean up what was left of their homes. It’s permanently stained with black soot and ash.

The shirt announces that I’m “Helping in Jesus’ Name.” I remember wearing this shirt, feeling hopeless that anything good could come from these ashy ruins. I felt like a voyeur, peering into a stranger’s nightmare.  But then, I recalled Jesus’ proclamation that He is “doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?{Isaiah 43:19} So, I kept sifting the ash, staining my shirt, trusting, even if I couldn’t see how God was working.

As I look at my t-shirts, including the bright orange one, I now wonder, could a new thing spring from this small mound of cotton and color? 

When it’s Jesus making the way, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” In the case of the 64 t-shirts, why can’t some (okay, most) be re-made into new things that will bless others like God has blessed me? Maybe God is using these shirts to show me that He is “able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” {2 Corinthians 9:8}

These t-shirts can have a new life, away from my dresser. With some imagination (and someone with sewing skills), they can become headbands, tote bags, dresses for little girls. And that soft shirt with the dog riding in the car? Well, wouldn’t that make the cutest diaper

All of these new things, these blessings, abound because God has given me all that I need.  Not only has God given me grace, out of His enduring mercy, so that I have more than sufficient temporal goods, but He continually provides me with an abiding love that helps me turn squander into a harvest of righteousness. 

See You In The Round!


*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.