Casualness Causing Casualties
Have you ever given much thought to what it means to approach a task or an idea with a casual attitude? Consider the definition of the word “casual.” The word “casual” is defined as:
“2 a : occurring without regularity . . . 3 a (1) : feeling or showing little concern . . . (2) : lacking a high degree of interest or devotion . . . (3) : done without serious intent or commitment . . . (2) : designed for informal use <casual clothing>” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, www.m-w.com)
Let us now consider the definition of the word “casualties.” Casualties can be defined as:
“2 : serious or fatal accident : disaster 3 a : a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action b : a person or thing injured, lost, or destroyed : victim . . .” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, www.m-w.com)
What is the relationship between casualness and casualties? In some situations, a casual attitude will not result in casualties, i.e. a casual dinner party, a casual attitude towards a lazy afternoon, a casual conversation, etc.) However, there are times when casual attitudes can and will lead to casualties. Consider a soldier in the midst of a battle. Can that soldier have a casual attitude toward his responsibilities? Absolutely not! A casual attitude on the part of a soldier could result in either his death or the death of a fellow soldier. When a doctor is about to perform open heart surgery, the patient cannot afford for the doctor to approach the surgery with a casual attitude. Such a casual attitude could lead to mistakes which could result in the death of the patient. Should a pilot approach the flying of an airplane carrying 200 passengers with a casual attitude? While most commercial airplanes are computerized, the pilots must still be alert and take seriously their responsibilities. Otherwise, an unexpected problem could result in a deadly plane crash. When a job demands attention and effort, a person cannot afford to have a casual attitude towards the job.
In order to faithfully serve our heavenly Father, it is important that we differentiate between the need for serious effort and attention and the acceptability of having a casual attitude and approach. A number of years back, several professional offices experimented with casual attire in a formal place of business. While many of the employees enjoyed the casual clothing policy, their casual approach to clothing began to spread to their work ethic and behavior while on the job. In a survey conducted in 1997 and ending in 1998, the problem of casual attire at the workplace became well known. According to this survey, as was predicted, “continually relaxed dress leads to relaxed manners, relaxed morals, relaxed productivity, and loss of individuality.” In an article called, The Low-Down on Dressing-Down, by Judith Rasband, we find that the survey revealed the following:
“People push a casual dress policy to extreme limits of acceptability. Complaints increase regarding hygiene problems and exposed body areas (armpits, midriffs, feet), adding up to attention diverted from business issues to behavior issues. People push the limits of acceptable actions once a casual dress policy has been introduced. Clothes considered acceptable for ‘bar hopping’ and/or ‘dance clubs’ as well as clothing with ‘offensive sayings’ imprinted on them are worn by employees—thus adding to the increase in comments, conversations, gestures, provocative actions, and harassment considered to be offensive.”
Towards the end of the article, Ms. Rasband makes a very important observation. Ms. Rasband writes,
“Research in psychology, sociology, family and consumer science, shows a direct correlation between how one dresses and how one thinks, feels, and acts or behaves, and how others react or respond. The clothing communicates to the individual as well as to others. The clothing can work for us or, as we see from these research results, it can work against us.” (The Low-Down On Dressing-Down, Judith Rasband, http://www.conselle.com/business-casual-dress-article.php.)
As Christians, we need to learn a very important lesson from this survey. If casual dress can lead to a casual attitude at the work place, how much more can casual dress lead to a casual attitude during the worship services? We cannot afford to approach our worship of God in a casual manner. There is nothing casual about God and what He has done for you and me. When we approach the worship of God in a casual manner, we are no longer showing God our proper love and respect. Any and all worship services should provoke a serious and sober mindset. We must take seriously the worship services as well as the object of our worship, the Heavenly Father. When we begin to approach the worship of God with a casual attitude and demeanor, we may very well find that our attitude regarding our faith in God, as well as our obedience, has become casual. At this point, our causal quality will result in our spirit becoming a causality.
The next time you are dressing yourself for worship services, give consideration to what you are about to do. Your choice of apparel should be a result of a heart set upon the seriousness and the importance of worshiping our heavenly Father. Is your casual attire during the worship services a reflection of a casual heart towards the worshiping of the heavenly Father? If so, then remember the following passage:
“Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalms 44:21)