Faith Moment
June 2, 2014
Costly Garments

Hans Christian Andersen tells of the emperor who loved new clothes. This emperor so admired modeling new robes that he spent all of his time in his dressing room. In fact, he had little concern for anything else in his kingdom.

One day, two swindlers came to town announcing they were weavers of the finest clothes imaginable. Their royal colors and fabrics, they claimed, were of such quality that they were only visible to the finest few! Those who were unfit for their office or were hopelessly stupid would not be able to see them at all.

The emperor provided the weavers with large amounts of money. He wanted to know those who were unfit for their posts; he also wanted to see the foolish and the clever within his empire. Yet when the emperor went to try on the garments, he was most distraught to realize that it was he who saw nothing at all.

But the king would not admit his stupidity or incompetence; he would not let anyone think him a fool. He announced that the cloth was very beautiful, and all the courtiers rapidly agreed. In a great procession the next day everyone spoke in admiration of the emperor’s new clothes. The garments were like no other, they said. But then from the back of the crowd a child spoke up, observing what the rest would not: The emperor was wearing nothing.

Imagine finding out that the one thing you have desperately attempted to keep veiled in secrecy was not actually veiled at all. Would you feel foolish? Or would you insist the veil was still there?

Andersen ends with a glimpse into the mind of the king: “[The words of the child] made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right. But he thought to himself, ‘Now I must bear up to the end.’”

I believe, however, that there can be another response to the startling realization that we stand unveiled before family, friends, or God Himself. Christ calls us to simply come to Him and give Him everything. Come without costume or pretense. Come ready to be honest with ourselves and honest with him.

Jesus will take from our shoulders our robes of self-importance and false security. Then he will clothe us with garments of salvation and array us in robes of righteousness.

With love,

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