Following is the talk given by me on May 14, 2022, at a women’s luncheon at Community Bible Church, Olathe, Kansas. All Bible references are from the New International Version. — Linda Mishler
Some of you have worn a favorite apron — how interesting to learn why they are your favorites! When my aprons are displayed for sale, it’s wonderful to hear how they remind someone of their mom or grandma — they usually say it was either an old-fashioned apron or a cobbler apron they wore. I am sure to have facial tissues on hand because sometimes, the emotional attachments to seeing a certain apron brings them to tears.
Aprons have been used for years as something practical. For women, aprons were necessary to protect clothing while cooking when wardrobes contained only a few dresses. For men, aprons were needed by blacksmiths to protect them from sparks as they worked with fire and metal. When you think about protection, do you think of the protection God provides for us as Christians? Psalm 91:4 promises that “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; ... his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” He protects us during bad times and good times, even when we are unaware we need protection. He also has covered us with grace through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” That verse reminds me of the apron worn by the blacksmith for protection.
Now we will move on and see how aprons are practical for other reasons. Let’s talk about apron pockets. This apron has three pockets — let’s see what’s in them! Tissues, like I mentioned; a toy airplane, to keep a little one busy; paper and pencil to make a grocery list (or a cell phone); and a little piece of chocolate — you know, the practical and necessary things! What do you hold on to that is dear to you? Are they special memories related to one of your favorite recipes? Is it a quilt that someone made for you? Is it a Bible verse that gets you through the tough times? One of my favorite Bible passages is Hebrews 4:14-16, which says: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” I want to hold in my heart pocket that confidence in Christ, and the joy that comes with it, and remember never to give up because I have the Lord on my side to see me through anything. That is the faith part.
Let’s move on and talk about how aprons are practical in the way they prepare us for the work ahead. That work might be baking a cake, cleaning house, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Whatever the task, it is important to remember that we should do it in such a way to honor and glorify God. In his sermon “The Road to Honour”, Charles Spurgeon notes we can honor God by acknowledging His deity, rule, holiness, justness, mercy, teaching, Scripture, trust, and goodness. Like putting on an apron daily, we can get into the habit of honoring God in these ways every day. How does that look for us? It means standing firm and faithful in Christian standards, even when the world is pressing against us to follow another path. For me, it means being careful about my sourcing, examining shows before choosing to exhibit at them, praying over aprons for their recipients, or keeping a prayer list by my sewing machine to use throughout the day. It means being brave and talking about God even when it’s awkward. Remember the confidence you have with Him? When we honor God, He honors us. I Samuel 2:30a tells us: “… for those who honor me I will honor.” Let’s find a way to honor him in everything.
The final point to make about the practical purpose of aprons is they are practical for wiping things. Maybe our apron pocket holds a cloth to wipe up spills, or we can use the apron corner to wipe away tears. (A little side note — if you have read the poem that is called “Mama’s Apron” you will know what I am talking about.) When we were sinners, and we asked for God to come into our lives, and accepted Jesus as our Savior, he forgave us our sins and made us clean. He wiped our tears away. Revelation 7:17 promises us: “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Sewing is one my of my favorite things to do. When I learned to sew at age 7, it was never in my thoughts that it would lead me to opportunities to honor God by making aprons. But God knew and had a plan for me, and looking back, I am sure the 4-H leader who gave us sewing lessons prayed for me. As mentioned earlier, sometimes God brings people to our sales booths that have tears in their eyes as they remember their favorite person. Sometimes there are tears for other reasons. My husband and I listen to them, and sometimes the Spirit leads us to offer to pray with them. (No one has ever turned us down.) That’s the confidence we have in Christ, to stand sometimes among thousands of people, and pray for the needs of others.
I pray that you can use some of your favorite practical things as a reminder to honor and glorify God. How can you use those favorite things to connect with other people as a call or a mission to honor Him? Another speaker who gives apron devotionals notes that we should remember to do these things with love for others in mind, not because you feel an obligation to do so or because of a commitment you have made. She points out that Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” I look forward to hearing your stories, and I’ll try to have some tissues on hand in case there are tears.