Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion for February 17, 2016

Greetings!!

If you looked in my closet (which I realize has way too many clothes), what you would find is a preponderance of sweaters.  I love sweaters and in my closet are a variety of colors and types of sweaters. I even have several of the same type of sweater in different colors - colors to match the mood of the day and colors to match the environment for the day and colors which match the chosen outfit. 
I think I like sweaters because there is just something comforting about being a little chilly and putting on a warm and cozy sweater - putting on a sweater just makes you feel toasty and comfortable. I especially like the cardigan type sweaters - the kind you put on and button up which just seems to give you an added amount of snug!  
Now days, they make cardigan type sweaters without the buttons and corresponding button holes which means you can’t participate in that extra snug….. but the sweater is still a cozy, comfy addition to the wardrobe.  
The reason for so many sweaters is the issue of what you wear your sweaters with - which necessitates different colors and styles of sweaters to go with whatever other article of clothing you are wearing. Of course about anything, any type and hue, go with the often worn blue jeans -  but when the destination of the day requires a little different attire then sweater decisions take on a whole new level of options.  
Depending on the formality of the function you are attending, different articles of clothing require different sweater choices - a little more dressy, a proper color for the rest of the outfit, a design which is a more form fitting and yes, a little less baggy and comfy.  But even in the formality of the occasion, sweaters are still a great way to feel warm and confident regardless of where you may be.
But over the years of sweater wearing, there are some of the most well worn sweaters that hold a special place in my heart - sweaters that have been with me for many years; sweaters that have been with me through circumstances both good and bad; sweaters that hold certain memories.  And there are more of these heirloom sweaters than I would like to admit! 
So hanging on the back of my closet door, and on a door knob in another room and the back of a chair somewhere else and who knows where else within easy access are these myriads of well worn, comfort induced, old and admittedly getting a little raggedy.  sweaters. 
Now I am smart enough not to wear these sweaters out in public and family members have actually cajoled me into taking one of them off when company was coming because these are ‘well loved’ sweaters.  Which of course is another way of saying they are pretty much worn out.  And yes there are the occasional (or not so occasional) holes in them and frayed cuffs and missing buttons and misshapen shoulder and necklines from hanging on door knobs.  There are a many of these cold and bitter nights where I will sleep with one of my snuggly sweaters over my pajamas - and I am so warm and toasty while I’m asleep.  But as you can imagine it doesn’t do the sweater much good to be worn like that. But these sweaters are kept not for their looks but for their warm, cozy comfort! 
Now the general consensus around the house is that I really don’t need quite so many of these worn out, damaged, hole filled, sweaters.  My argument of course is that if I have a bunch of them then they are always handy as there is one on the back of the chair in one room and one on a door knob in another room and one laying across the back of the recliner in another room  and one lying across my bed so that whenever I feel that bit of a chill a sweater is right there to put on and reverse that uncomfortable cold feeling - and it really does.  
What a mood changer to go from covered in chill bumps to feeling cozy and warm!  You have to admit the snugly warmth is better - and having a plethora of well worn sweaters in easy reach is a good thing….  Even if they are worn out and button missing and marked by a few holes and stretched out areas and frayed collars…..
Aren’t we a lot like old sweaters?  In our lives we have been pretty much frayed and stretched and torn and stained.  We often feel like we have just been worn out to the point where we aren’t that much good anymore.  We think that like an old sweater we just don’t have much use.  We are to the point of thinking we out to be hung somewhere on an old door knob and forgotten or packed away in a box or shoved into the back of a closet or even tossed out.  
But you know what is great about God….. we don’t have to be in pristine shape like we were a new sweater right out of the box and ready for the fancy party; we don’t have to worry about matching the right pair of pants or the right event or the current temperature;  God just takes us right off the back of that chair and keeps us and loves us and uses us as he wills just as we are!  
We might feel like a worn out sweater but we can still do the work God needs us to do - might not be the same work as it was when we were younger, but we and our work is still important and necessary. 
And what is even more, with all those frayed edges we can even be of more use than the brand new sweater just home from the store. Those stretched out collars and hems were produced by a myriad of experiences that taught us an awful lot of helpful and useful and practical information.   
After all we don’t want to wear that brand new pristine sweater while we are sweeping the floors or wiping out the bathroom sinks - the old well worn already stained sweater is much better for that and we as worn as we are can be of much more use because of all those years of doing.  
So don’t ever feel that you are too old, or too damaged, or too full of holes to be an important part of the Kingdom of God.  You are special to God and just like my many stretched out sweaters that are full of good works and good memories and cozy, warmth and comfort, you are still necessary to continue the work God knows you can do!

Amen!!                                                                              
 Joanne!



These devotions began in 2006 as a way to give us a midweek boost as we live out our lives as the people of God!  Feel free to share them if you wish.