As we've talked nearly nonstop this week about clothing, I couldn't help but share one of my favorite stories. It's one Ravi Zacharias tells in his book, Can Man Live Without God? Every time I read it, I'm reminded of the great privilege it is to wear the covering Christ provided for me.
One day an evangelist by the name of Jakov arrived in a certain village (in Yugoslavia). He commiserated with an elderly man named Cimmerman on the tragedies he had experienced and talked to him of the love of Christ. Cimmerman abruptly interrupted Jakov and told him that he wished to have nothing to do with Christianity. He reminded Jakov of the dreadful history of the church in his town, a history replete with plundering, exploiting, and indeed, with killing innocent people.
"My own nephew was killed by them," he said, and angrily rebuffed any effort on Jakov's part to talk about Christ. "They wear those elaborate coats and caps and crosses," he said, "signifying a heavenly commision, but their evil designs and lives I cannot ignore."
Jakov, looking for an occasion to get Cimmerman to change his line of thinking, said, "Cimmerman, can I ask you a question? Suppose I were to steal your coat, put in on, and break into a bank. Suppose further that the police sighted me running in the distance but could not catch up with me. One clue, however, put them onto your track: they recognized your coat. What would you say to them if they came to your house and accused you of breaking into the bank?"
"I would deny it," said Cimmerman.
" 'Ah, but we saw your coat,' they would say," retorted Jakov. This analogy quite annoyed Cimmerman, who ordered Jakov to leave his home.
Jakov continued to return to the village periodically just to befriend Cimmerman, encourage him, and share the love of Christ with him. Finally one day Cimmerman asked, "How does one become a Christian?" and Jakov taught him the simple steps of repentance for sin and of trust in the work of Jesus Christ and gently pointed him to the Shepherd of his soul. Cimmerman bent his knee on the soil with his head bowed and surrendered his life to Christ. As he rose to his feet, wiping his tears, he embraced Jakov and said, "Thank you for being in my life."
And then he pointed to the heavens and whispered, "You wear His coat very well."
Let it be our goal to wear His love wherever we go.