Saturday, September 2, 2006

Here is an excerpt from Gladys Aylward, The Little Woman - by Gladys Aylward as told to Christine Hunter

[a fellow missionary involved in distributing clothes to the refugees meets a Christian Chinese Merchant and asks him to take a pack of clothing with him to give to the refugees:]

"Will you take one of these parcels and pray that you will be guided to give the clothes to those most in need?"

So, with one of the unopened bundles, the merchant set off for Macao. he had a room in the town, and he went straight to it to leave his belongings. Then he decided to go out and buy some food. Coming down the street he met a man who looked ill and starved, yet carried himself proudly in spite of the fact that all he wore on his emaciated body were a sleeveless waistcoat and a pair of ladies' panties!

The merchant stared, then gasped. This man had once been one of China's most prominent men.

"Sir, are you looking for lodgings?" the merchant asked diffidently.

The stranger shook his head.

"Would you come and eat with me?" went on the merchant.

"Thank you, I accept," was the dignified reply.

Together they went to a small eating house and the merchant ordered a simple meal.

"I recognized you as you came down the street," the merchant remarked as the meal progressed. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

"I believe you are a Christian. Will you pray with me?"

The merchant bowed his head, and very simply the nobleman, said, "O Lord, thank You for answering the first two parts of my prayer. You have brought me to safety; You have given me something to eat. Now please answer the third part and give me something to wear so that I can get employment and so keep my self-respect."

"I believe God has answered that prayer already," the merchant said eagerly. "Come home with me now."

Together they opened the bundle which we had sent from London with our loving prayers, and there, right on top, lay somehthing which had very seldom come into our hands - a man's complete suit! Often we had odd jackets or odd trousers, but practically never a matching suit.

Weeks later we received a letter from Macao, bearing the signature of a man who had been one of China's wealthiest and most influential men before the Communists came into power and robbed him of home, money and family.

In that letter were many grateful thanks for the clothes he had received, and through which he had been able to gain employment....He told how he, a prominent Buddhist, had been stripped of all he possessed, then thrown into prison. But it was there he had come to know Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.

He had lost all in this world, but he had peace and joy in his heart because he was a Christian, and nothing the enemy could do could take that from him.
This story made me realize how much I take for granted all the clothes in my closet and sometimes make clothes the center of my life - it's so wrong. This man's humiliation humbles me - I who have much and too much. May we who have never gone naked because of lack, never complain. Instead let us be grateful that God has clothed, even as the lilies, us of little faith; and let us who have two cloaks share with her who has none, in true repentance and faith. We need not many clothes, we only need to wear the ones we have with a thankful heart and a joyful face because our citizenship is in heaven.

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