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An Irregular Guy

Father, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God. It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

The seasons are changing and for the first time it was cold enough that I needed a coat. As I scanned the coats in the hall closet, I spotted a nice looking black coat that I had never seen before. I removed it from the hanger and noticed that it still had the sales tags. It was new! My wife had bought me a new coat, and I didn’t even know it.

As I slipped the coat on, I noticed that it fit perfectly. But, to my dismay, as I went to zip it up, I noticed that the zipper was backwards. It had been sewn in wrong. As I scanned the tag, my suspicions were correct. This wonderful coat was an irregular!

Irregular, a word from my youth, still stings when I hear it. I grew up in a blue collar family. My mom did most of my clothes shopping in the bargain basement of the local men’s store. She shopped in the “irregulars department.”

As a naive kid, I never knew what an irregular was. I thought it was a brand name! I can still remember the embarrassment. The kids at school were comparing their brand name clothes. “My shirt is an Izod,” said one kid. “Mine is a Calvin Klein,” said another. The discussion went on until it was my turn.

“My shirt is an Irregular!” I proudly announced to a huge outburst of laughter. The laughter subsided as we made our way to class.

That night, I shared the story with my mom.

“What is an irregular?” I asked.

“Well, honey,” she said as she paused to measure her words. “An irregular is a shirt or pair of pants with a slight flaw. Nothing big or noticeable, but the prices are more affordable.”

“You know son, the men Jesus picked for his apostles were all flawed. Each of the apostles were flawed in some way. And most of the saints didn’t start out that way. They were flawed too, and they were able to overcome their flaws with God’s grace.”

She was doing her best to explain, but it wasn’t working for me. I was still embarrassed to be the only kid in my class that was an irregular.

Now, as an adult, I can see the beauty in her wisdom. I realize that I am flawed. We all are. For one thing, I am a sinner. And, only through God’s grace and forgiveness, can I ever get to heaven.

I’m flawed in many other ways as well. I am balding and losing my hearing. I wear bifocal contacts, have bad knees, a huge scar on my stomach from colon surgery. Come to think of it, I am a pretty irregular guy!

It is often said that God doesn’t choose the qualified, he qualifies the chosen. I don’t need to be perfect to serve Him. Just look at those apostles my mom mentioned. They were fishermen, tax collectors, men of no distinction. Yet they went out and evangelized the entire world.

As I struggled to zip up my crazy zipper, I realized that being an irregular guy wasn’t that bad. I’m going to wear my new jacket with humility and pride.

I know I’m flawed, but I’m happy to be an Irregular Guy!

***This is an rewrite of a story that originally appeared on November 17, 2013***


Reprinted with permission:

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