One of the cool parts of my job is the cool jackets, shirts, caps, etc. that we get to wear. One of mine has a story behind it.
A couple of years ago Simmons chaplains all got new jackets with the Simmons logo and mine had, "Chaplain Larry" embroidered on it. It is a nice jacket that comes with a story. A story that may or may not involve a robbery.
OK, it does...
When Chaplain Nick picked the jackets up, he was greeted with, “You’re not going to believe this, but…” from there, the explanation was that the store was broken into last night and Chaplain Larry’s jacket was stolen, along with a lot of other items. No problem, a little delay and the next new jacket was ready to pick up a few days later.
This time, again, the greeting was, “You’re not going to believe this, but…” It turns out the thief had been caught on video the first time wearing a Simmons Chaplain Larry jacket, and he now had showed up at a bank in a nearby town trying to cash a check (which he had also stolen from the store when he took my jacket).
He was wearing my Simmons "Chaplain Larry" jacket at the bank.
The bank had been alerted and once again the thief and would be “hot check bandit” was caught on video, the police arrived and took him into custody. The last we heard, that first jacket was locked in a police evidence room. I am not to wear my new jacket to any banks in that particular town!
My thought for this article is this, what identifies me? When I show up in a room with Chaplain Larry on my shirt or jacket, it seems like something changes. When I put on the name tag, lanyard, or clothing that says “Chaplain Larry,” I think something changes in me. When I wear clothing that says “Simmons” I keep in mind that we 1) Put People First, 2) Act with Integrity, 3) Take Responsibility, 4) Be Curious, 5) Take Action. Those are our values, they identify who we are.
I have hesitated to put one of the little fish decals or “I Love Jesus” stickers on my bumper, though I try to be Christian in my driving. I do loan my vehicle to friends occasionally.
What is it that identifies me as a Christian to those that I meet? There is a place in the book of Revelation, chapter 7 and again in chapter 14 where God “seals” those that believe in Him. Most commentaries say that this is to be a sign or mark that will identify those who belong to God. I don’t think that has happened yet, I don’t think that you or I can look at a person and discern their heart’s relationship with God.
However, I can read some signs. “Stop” means just what it says, it doesn’t mean pause and pretend you stopped. Even though, years ago, when driving in a foreign country I was told that if that Stop sign is placed at a Railroad crossing you had better not stop or you will be rear-ended! So, when I hear a person taking God’s name in vain, and cursing like a sailor, then that same person realizes that he or she is speaking to a preacher and suddenly they are interested in talking about theology and what chapter 7 in the book of Revelation means, and how close we are to the coming of the Lord and how much they are looking forward to that…I want to say STOP! Which sign am I supposed to be reading here?
Let’s not send out the wrong signals. Jesus accused a group of people of being like a whitewashed tomb, beautiful on the outside but inside full of dead men’s bones. They seemed to have worn signs that read something like the Jewish equivalent of “SUPER BELIEVER.” When you got to know them, they were not very nice people. Jesus was writing the word HYPOCRITE in big bold letters and saying, “Here’s YOUR sign!”
I wear a jacket and a shirt that says “SIMMONS” because I want to be identified with a company that has our values. There’s just that one bank in that one town where I have been advised to not do so.