T-Shirts 2017 June 23 2017

(Part of BCF’S blog series: “Society, Selflessness, and the Scriptures")

Last year about this time we had a blog about T-shirts.  Summer truly brings them out in force – on vacation, at the beach, going shopping, etc.  Many advertise loyalties to schools, sports teams, businesses, clothing brands, or musical groups.  And like we saw last time, some advertise human characteristics that are not exactly virtuous (sarcasm, self-exaltation, argumentativeness, etc.).

There are also some very humorous ones, and companies marketing senior citizens seem particularly adept at these.  Here are a few:

  •  “RETIRED – I was tired yesterday and I’m tired again today.”
  •  “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself”
  •  “Retirement: There’s a nap for that”
  •  “I’m retired.  This is as dressed up as I get”

Perhaps we’ll have a future blog on the whole subject of retirement.

Vehicle license plates (affectionately known as “vanity plates”) have a similar range of advertising strategies.  The limitation to six or seven letters and numbers brings out all sorts of creativity, and some of them can take a little while to figure out what they are trying to convey.  Some states have special characters, like hearts, that allow you to express love for another person, sport, or any number of other things.

We all have seen plates that are particularly clever (or perhaps you have one).  For example, there are a lot of Star Wars plates out there, like:

  •  H4NSOLO (I guess someone already had taken the plate with the “A”)

Many others attempt to persuade (HIOFECR), impress (WSHURME, seen on a Bentley), or remind (1-LEG, seen on a handicapped plate).

We were reminded in the 2016 T-Shirt blog how the Apostle Paul wrote about the right kind of advertising.  He wrote about a true life message in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3:

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

As believers even today, we are “known and read by all men.”  We have to expect to be watched, examined, and evaluated to see if our walk is consistent with our spiritual T-shirt (i.e. our talk).  Assumptions about us can be made by others very quickly based on what we may think of as “small, insignificant actions.”

I repeated this reminder here because of a license plate that recently caught my eye on a pickup truck in a parking lot: “DYE2SLF.”  That is bold!  And it was on a California plate at that. It was likely motivated by their faith, but we don’t know for sure.  But it is at least as bold as having a fish symbol on our cars, because the owner is providing an expectation that this is how he or she lives.  But my guess is that part of the reason they did it may have been to serve as a reminder to themselves that others are watching.

At any rate, this was a reminder to me of the biblical principle expressed by Jesus in Luke 9: 23-24 – “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, he is the one who will save it.”

This is not a new idea to many of us.  But as easy as it is to understand, it is equally hard to practice consistently.  And by writing this blog, I already sense added pressure to live up to the license plate, knowing how prone I am not to do that.  So we close this blog remembering that we cannot do this on our own human power, but rely on power of the Holy Spirit together with God’s “mercy and grace to help in time of need.”  Thank you, DYE2SLF person, for this great reminder!  May the Lord help us display our life T-shirt or license plate messages in a way that honors Him.

If you would like to contribute to my ongoing collection of T-shirt and license plate examples, send me an email at blog@bcfministries.org.  I would appreciate any interesting “life-message” T-shirts or plates you see this summer, either good or bad.

If you have questions about this or other blog posts, please e-mail blog@bcfministries.org. You may also subscribe to the blog by emailing that address and put “Subscribe to blog” in the subject line. If you need general information about BCF materials and courses, you can access our home page at www.bcfministries.org.

Steve Smith