Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Beggar's Rags

A beggar lived near the king's palace. One day he saw a proclamation
posted outside the palace gate. The king was giving a great dinner.
Anyone dressed in royal garments was invited to the party. The beggar
went on his way. He looked at the rags he was wearing and sighed.
Surely only kings and their families wore royal robes, he thought.
Slowly an idea crept into his mind. The audacity of it made him
tremble. Would he dare?

He made his way back to the palace. He approached the guard at the
gate. "Please, Sire, I would like to speak to the King." "Wait here,"
the guard replied. In a few minutes, he was back. "His Majesty will
see you," he said, and let the beggar in. "You wish to see me?" asked
the king. "Yes, your Majesty. I want so much to attend the banquet,
but I have no royal robes to wear. Please, Sire, if I may be so bold,
may I have one of your old garments so that I, too, may come to the
banquet?" The beggar shook so hard that he could not see the faint
smile that was on the King's face. "You have been wise in coming to
me," the King said. He called to his son, the young prince. "Take
this man to your room and array him in some of your clothes."

The prince did as he was told and soon the beggar was standing before
a mirror, clothed in garments that he had never dared hope for. "You
are now eligible to attend the King's banquet tomorrow night," said
the prince. "But even more important, you will never need any other
clothes. These garments will last forever. "The beggar dropped to his
knees, "Oh thank you," he cried. But as he started to leave, he
looked back at his pile of dirty rags on the floor. He hesitated.
What if the prince was wrong? What if he would need his old clothes
again. Quickly he gathered them up.

The banquet was far greater than he had ever imagined, but he could
not enjoy himself as he should. He had made a small bundle of his old
rags and it kept falling off his lap. the food was passed quickly and
the beggar missed some of the greatest delicacies.

Time proved that the prince was right. The clothes lasted forever.
Still the poor beggar grew fonder and fonder of his old rags. As time
passed people seemed to forget the royal robes he was wearing. They
saw only the little bundle of filthy rags that he clung to wherever
he went. They even spoke of him as the old man with the rags.

One day as he lay dying, the King visited him. The beggar saw the sad
look on the King's face when he looked at the small bundle of rags by
the bed. Suddenly the beggar remembered the prince's words and he
realized that his bundle of rags had cost him a lifetime of true
royalty. He wept bitterly at his folly and the king wept with him.

We have been invited into a royal family, the family of God. To feast
at God's dinner table all we have to do is shed our old rags and put
on the "new clothes" of faith which is provided by God's son, Jesus
Christ. But we cannot hold onto our old rags. When we put our faith
in Christ, we must let go of the sin in our life, and our old ways of
living. Those things must be discarded if we are to experience true
royalty and abundant life in Christ.

From the CCEC Story List; To


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