You are lying in bed getting ready to go to sleep when your smartphone rings. It is the family you home teach and they are wondering if you would be able to come over to give a blessing to a sick family member. Of course, your answer is “yes, I would love to.” After you hang up, the first thought that runs through your mind is “I just got into bed, do I have to get dressed up in a shirt and tie?”
Dressing in your “Sunday” best is a simple matter of respect. For example, the church handbook instructs priesthood holder performing the sacrament ordinance (another priesthood ordinance) that “[t]ies and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance.” Wearing your Sunday best is a sign of respect and honor for the priesthood. Some who hold the priesthood may forget what a blessing it is to do so and fail to treat it with the respect it is due. However, we cannot assume every instance where someone does not put on a tie before giving a blessing to mean they lack respect for their priesthood. We all see respect differently and some priesthood holders may not see the putting on a shirt and tie as a prerequisite to respecting the priesthood.
Before you judge, remember, your Sunday best is not required to exercise the priesthood. You do not know who does and who does not have access or time to change prior to administering a blessing. For example, the priesthood holder may be called on at short notice and may not have the time to change his clothes. A soldier who administers a blessing on the battlefield will likely not be able to run back to base, change his clothing, and come back to administer a blessing to a fellow soldier. A priesthood holder may also feel that when giving a blessing in his own home, getting dressed in a shirt and tie is not necessary.
Whenever possible, put on a white shirt and a tie to give a priesthood blessing as a showing of a deep reverence for the priesthood. However, what is important is that when the blessing comes from a worthy man striving to be what Heavenly Father wants him to be, with the proper authority, the blessing is valid regardless of what the priesthood holder is wearing.