The Retirement Years


Maintaining Personal Tidiness

Dear Brother Robert and Sister Hannah [Sawyer],

I have received your letter, and will now reply. Lest I may have been misunderstood, I will say that I never intended that any counsel I have given you in the past should influence you against making any move that would be for your best interests. I have nothing to say to hinder your investing your means in any place where you could have better accommodations or advantages than you have where you now are. RY 70.1

But do not, I beg of you, move blindly. Do not place yourselves where you might be left destitute of means among strangers. For you to move to North Carolina I would consider ill-advised and inconsistent. I believe that no one who understands your circumstances would advise such a move. You need to act wisely and carefully. The Lord will not leave you, if you commit your case fully to Him. RY 70.2

I have words of counsel for Brother Robert. There is need of a reformation in your habits of dress and appearance. Untidiness in dress brings a reproach against the truth we profess to believe. You should consider that you are a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the whole life be in harmony with Bible truth. [Matthew 5:13-16, quoted.] RY 70.3

Neglect of your apparel has been a decidedly objectionable feature of your character. The impression you have made upon the minds both of believers and of unbelievers has not met the mind of the Spirit of God. Because of your slackness in this matter, our people have not felt free to advise you to take up work in selling literature, a work in which you might have accomplished much good. There is a useful work in which you might engage, visiting from house to house and speaking the right words, but your untidy influence works counter to the precious influence you might otherwise exert. RY 71.1

Remember that you can do an acceptable work for the Lord, but your personal appearance must be such as will recommend you as one who is letting his light shine for the Master. Will you not now take hold of this matter, and seek to effect a reformation in dress and appearance? If you should be entrusted with public work in our religious gatherings, with your lax ideas as to proper dress, you would not have the best influence over those whom you were trying to help. RY 71.2

This is not a matter of but little consequence, for it affects your influence over others for time and for eternity. You cannot expect the Lord to give you the fullest success in winning souls for Him unless your whole manner and appearance is of a nature that will win respect. The truth is magnified even by the impression of neatness in dress, and I know that you desire to use every jot of your influence on the side of the Master. RY 71.3

I have dwelt upon this matter because this is a decided defect in your character. The Lord has not been glorified by your laxness in dress. It may seem to be but a small matter, but it is against the honor and glory of God. Men and women who are rich in grace and the influence of holiness will be circumspect in every matter that helps to give them influence. Your present and future usefulness in the service of the Master depends in a measure upon how you relate yourself to this matter. We are nearing the close of time, and we must do all in our power to win souls for Christ's kingdom.—Letter 336, 1908. RY 72.1