Ever heard of anyone wearing a lot of hats, or maybe shuffling hats? It's a way of describing the reality that we all have many different roles in life that we have to fill, each represented by a "hat," if you will. Personally, I shuffle my husband hat, my father hat, my grad student hat, my employee hat, and my pastor hat -- just to name a few! Each "hat" comes with different responsibilities, different priorities, and sometimes different ways of seeing and understanding the world.
What's worse is that sometimes the hats conflict with each other, and we find ourselves trying to shuffle hats very quickly or maybe even struggling to figure out which hat we are supposed to be wearing at the moment. If we are not careful, we can reduce our faith to a competing "hat." The responsibilities, priorities, and way of understanding and seeing the world that the gospel provides come to the forefront only when we think we are in the right moment or right environment to don our "Christian hat."
The problem, though, is that the gospel is meant to be a ten-gallon hat, if you will -- a "hat" big enough to fit over all the other "hats" and always to dictate how we see ourselves and the world. Instead of being a Christian, a husband, a father, and an employee for example, I ought always to be a Christian husband, a Christian father, and a Christian employee. At all times and in all circumstances, I ought to be a Christian “something.” Rather than other roles or responsibilities competing with the gospel, they become subsumed under -- and really redefined by -- it.
It's okay to wear other hats -- to see ourselves as parents, spouses, employees, sports fans, affiliates of particular political parties, or citizens of particular countries. However, whenever you are wearing a particular hat, make sure your ten-gallon gospel hat is on top. Make sure that whatever roles, responsibilities, or worldviews you embrace that you live them out in a gospel-centered way. And make sure that whatever "hat" you are wearing, that huge, conspicuous gospel hat is in plain sight as a witness for all to see who you truly are and why you truly do what you do.