A Fringe Case

Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:

Numbers 15:38 (KJV)

Fringes – Next time you’re out and about, stop and look around. How different do you appear from the people surrounding you? Whether you’re at Target, Walmart, a school, wherever… do you look any different from the people around? “Certainly”, you might respond. “The light of Christ shines through me and people will see that!” But we know the light of Christ isn’t necessarily a visual light shining forth, but rather a visual through the works one does. So what about those times when you’re standing in line at the DMV, or when you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, or when you’re shopping for shampoo at Target? These are times when nothing particularly exemplary is being performed. There’s no special denotation in your actions that might reveal you as a child of God. How do you stand out from the world at those times? Maybe we don’t stand out. Being a Christian is much more than just looking different, right?

God calls us to be a peculiar people (Deuteronomy 26:18). When you look around and realize that your actions and appearance assimilate to the actions and appearance of the world, how peculiar are you really? YHWH covers this with a specific commandment – wear fringes on the four corners of your garments. Certainly if someone followed you around for a day, maybe two, maybe a week, they might see you perform some Christian duty in which they would recognize you as a child of God, but most people don’t have that time. Their immediate glimpse of you walking past is all they get. How does YHWH use you to speak to someone in those brief moments? This is that fringe case scenario. While the reason for this commandment has specifically to do with you and your own behavior, there’s an interesting affect a fringe has on the world around you.

In Hebrew, the word is tzitzit, which means tassel, but finds its root in the word blossom. What is a blossom renown for? It attracts bees and helps in the pollination of other plant growth. I can testify to this occurrence in my own life. I regularly wear tzitzit and am amazed by the number of people that are attracted to them. They approach me, ask me questions about them, and the tzitzit alone have opened up countless discussions concerning Scripture. Like bees, people are drawn to them, and in our discussions that stemmed (no pun intended) from them, both the inquirer and myself have grown in our spiritual walk with YHWH.

So while countless times have opened up to me in which I get to communicate Scripture with others, I am also frequently reminded of my commitment of obedience to YHWH. While I don’t wear a tallit (a prayer shawl with tzitzit), I do tie the tzitzit to my belt loops every morning. This has become a moment of prayer in my life that as I tie them I pray specific things with each one. As I walk along my hands brush against them, and I’m reminded of God’s law (the very purpose for wearing them). Continually, the Lord has found His way into my life and is retraining my thoughts and my actions to be more inline with His.

Standing in line at the store, I no longer look like everyone else. I thought my beard had been that identifier, but it has become the trend lately. But yet again, I stand out because of the tassels – even when I’m not doing anything saintly. People look twice, and whether they like it or not, their mind is shifted toward Scripture. It’s become a form of evangelism. And what’s fascinating is that it’s what God himself commands. It is YHWH’s desire, His will, that I wear them. Something so simple and so quiet has had such a profound impact on my life.

How are you evangelizing? Are you shouting for hours on street corners for people to gather around, or are you walking quietly as the bees fly up to you? Either way can effect others, when used for God’s purpose. God’s people are peculiar, but they’re peculiar for a purpose – because they keep His law.

And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;

Deuteronomy 26:18

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