Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. Psalm 144:4 (NIV)
My employer is reviewing the dress code for our office, because people have started dressing too casually. Just a few decades ago, women in our office could not wear pants. Closed toed shoes, stockings and a dress or skirt were required. That policy was relaxed before I went to work there, but attire was to be businesslike and professional. About fifteen year ago, a new policy allowed us to dress down on the last Friday of each month. The first “dress down day”, I was excited to wear jeans and a T-Shirt to work, but I quickly realized that my idea of dressing down and that of the rest of the office were different. My jeans were comfortable but old, and my T-shirt sloppy. I was too dressed down. So, I had to learn to dress causally, but appropriately for work. Over time, others did not learn the same lesson, so guidelines for dress down days were established. Every Friday, we can wear a polo shirt monogrammed with the office logo and blue jeans. We can also dress down on the last Friday, but only appropriate shirts and jeans are allowed. Regardless of the definitions, dress continued to get more and more casual until earlier this year, a ban was established on flip-flops and T-shirts without collars and logos. The flip-flop rule came in despite some protests that they are in style and those those with decorations and small heels often cost more than a regular pair of shoes. We had been cautioned on numerous occasions before the crack down took place, but some people did not heed the warning and continued to wear plastic shoes that should be reserved for the beach as well as t-shirts that might be considered offensive. A few made it impossible for the rest of us to enjoy the freedom of choice. As I rethought the dress down policy, I realized that a pair of sandals I frequently wore to work needed to be retired. While they were comfortable and not flip-flops, they were starting to look ratty. Though my body might be clad in professional garb, my sandals screamed, “My brain is in vacation mode!” I still wear them, but not too work. Thinking of the dress code reminded me of something my Sunday School teacher recently said. She noted that we take our lives too casually. Our mouths may be spouting platitudes about how, “We need to win the lost to Christ!” but our actions show that we are in no hurry to do so. We say that relationships are most important, but we waste time on frivolous matters rather than focus on the people around us. We pledge to draw closer to God, but ignore daily Bible study, worship and prayer time. Our lives could be over in a split second. One breath is all that separates us from eternity. How are you using the time you have been given? The clock is ticking. Don’t be casual about it.