I was walking out of an information meeting for our campus work day, when someone commented on my attire. “What if those pants could talk?!” he said with a questioning smirk. The implication was pretty clear to me. My pants appeared to have been through many battles. What stories would be told if these pants could talk!
As I thought about this comment, my mind began to ponder on all the mission trips these pants have taken, the countries they have visited, and of course all the people they have interacted with around the world.
When I originally found these light-brown corduroys at a local thrift store, my intent was to keep them nice. I’m pretty sure there is a picture somewhere pre-war days where I may have been looking dapper in them, but that is just a faded memory at this point.
I can remember the very first time I made the fatal decision to wear them where they weren’t made to be worn. We were in Londrina, Brazil, helping out at a Christian camp. The activity for the day was painting the gym. Foolishly, I thought I might be able to paint and come away unscathed, but if you know me at all, you realize my blindspot in that line of thinking.
Perhaps you’ve been in a situation where you were called on to do something you actually weren’t prepared to do? Well, that was me in the moment. After looking through various options of clothing apparel, these pants became my chosen tool of engagement. They were not made for painting, but in a pinch they stepped up to the challenge.
After eight hours of painting continuously, my pants were wrecked. Though my cords were a disaster, the gym was pristine. This camp had wanted that project done for years, and our team finally provided the work. What a joy that paint brought to the ministry leaders that day. My pants settled back into the suitcase a little scarred, but better for it.
That one decision to let go of what I thought I had bought these pants for and to use them for ministry changed the life of these pants forever.
In Greenville, SC, many stains soiled the surface of these pants during our time pastoring ReaLity Church. Moving furniture for people poked holes and added tears. Digging gardens and painting living rooms made these my go-to pants for serving others.
Six years in Thailand proved fatal as well. On more than one occasion my poor pants soaked up sweat from the hot humid days in east Asia. Mixed with my perspiration were blood stains left over from hauling bricks, rocks, and cement for a hill tribe village road project during one of our Discipleship Training School outreaches.
After ten years of battle, my pants hung in there for more ministry. I loved those pants. Broken-in was an understatement for how they hugged me. They felt good. I had to keep using them. They saw me through another five years of ministry serving people in the mountains of western North Carolina!
When heading to Alaska in 2016 with our YWAM School of Evangelism, I had a funny feeling I might need these guys, so into the backpack they went! Sure enough, we updated the color in a local church, painted an entire house lime green (they loved the color!), and stained and painted a gazebo in the middle of Homer’s downtown.
These pants have been half-way around the world and back. They’ve had some work and some play, but if they could actually talk, they might tell you even deeper conversations like the stories of young orphans constrained to carry HIV with them forever or the tears of the elderly whose family has rejected them and won’t come to fix a leaky roof. Perhaps these pants could recall the hours of prayers lifted to Jesus on behalf of those with deep wounds only Jesus could heal.
But if these pants could really talk, I know they would tell about the countless hugs experienced, as they brushed up against hundreds of people from around the world. I hope if they uttered any words at all, they would actually thank me. Thank me for the wonderful life they lived in serving other people. It’s not what they were made for, but it is what gave them life.
Recently, I grabbed these pants once more only to realize they had some rips and holes in unpatchable places and were becoming risqué. 😳 So with some dismay, these pants were discarded and replaced by another pair from a thrifty find. I have no idea how long these new ones will last, but I’m hoping to have as many stories to share of where they have been and the lives they have ministered to like my old trusty brown cords.
All the places these pants have traveled and all the stories they have told is a direct result of those who have supported us in missions throughout all these years. So my pants and I thank you! Thanks for the opportunity to show God’s grace to the nations.