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A Clean Shirt Twice a Day

I served as an expert for a lawyer named Mort eighteen years ago. He was a very successful trial lawyer who had studied the courtroom, the trial process and the participants for years. When Mort was in trial he always was in control, or at least, he appeared to be in control. He was far from being religious, but he was good at his craft and seriously respected by his peers. He was one of the best trial lawyers you will ever find.

One of his patterns of behavior was to wear a different freshly cleaned and pressed expensive suit everyday court was in session. I remember that he could go six weeks without wearing the same suit twice. Mort never wore the same necktie twice no matter how long the trial lasted. He showed up every morning with a crisply starched fresh white shirt and a smartly tied, understated necktie. And his shoes, of course, were shined and always looked perfect.

Now if that isn’t enough to impress you, Mort was so obsessed with his appearance that he changed his clothes at lunch everyday. Just before he returned for the afternoon trail session, Mort changed into newly shined shoes that were identical to the ones he had worn that morning, another identical crisply starched fresh white shirt, an identical smartly tied understated necktie and an identical freshly cleaned and pressed expensive suit. However, no one outside of his closed circle knew that he had changed his clothes because he looked exactly the same.

Do I do the best I can do for the One I represent?

I learned that Mort always bought two of everything he wore for his trial wardrobe. I thought his quest for sartorial splendor was a bit much until one night when I was a dinner guest at his home. After the meal was served, Mort, his wife, and I sat and talked. Mort’s wife told me that she wanted her husband to retire, that they had more than enough money to live any way they chose for ever, and that she was concerned about his health. He worked so hard with such intensity that she feared that something could happen to him.

Somehow our conversation that evening got around to Mort’s wardrobe and his changing his clothes each day at lunchtime. Mort’s wife explained that Mort was so concerned about the job he did for his client that he believed he should always be fully prepared and look his best. The fresh clothing he put on for each half day of a trial was part of his desire to excel for the one he represented. Changing into fresh clothes halfway through each day of a trial were simply good taste and good sense, nothing more. Were it not for the trial, Mort would wear jeans and a polo shirt. His insistence that he be the best representative of his client was evident. Once you got to know him, you realized that he gave his all to those he represented.

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Category: Fall 2000, Living the Faith

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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