This is an article from the January 1986 issue: Donald McGavran

The Prince’s New Clothes

The Prince’s New Clothes

A miracle happened to me recently.

For years I’ve carried feelings of poor self worth. As a result I have neglected and denied myself, feeling guilty about having anything more than I absolutely needed.

When I came on staff with the U.S. Center for World Mission, I felt unpresentable and was unwilling to receive help. So I lived “by faith,” praying in 80 cents to buy batteries for my bike light, for example.

When my regular support rose to an “extravagant” $600 a month (half the goal I had been given), I compulsively gave away $300 a month. I could not believe God wanted me to have more than enough to scrape by. And I treated my clothing and personal appearance in the same way.

But slowly I began grasping the reality of a loving Father who is delighted to give me good gifts, and with whom I don’t have to feel bad or guilty about my wants and desires.

A couple months ago my friend Shauna expressed an interest in shopping with me and helping me revamp my wardrobe. I invited her over for dinner a week later, but the idea of shopping was just a dream; neither of us had money.

The night Shauna and I had planned dinner, a woman from my prayer group at church called and asked me to pick up some clothes she wanted to give me. I tried to put her off, but she was insistent. So I stopped by her house on my way home.

After dinner, Shauna and I looked through the bundle and were overwhelmed to find more than $500 worth of fashionable, well-fitting pants and shirts. Shauna hemmed 9 of 17 pair of pants that night. Together we went through my wardrobe and tossed out two large garbage sacks of outdated clothes, many of which I had been wearing since high school, 10 years earlier!

My closet is still full, but no longer with outdated, ragged leftovers; now I’m wearing name-brand shirts, jeans and shirts…and everything is coordinated!

But the miracle goes much deeper than the dollar value of the clothing I received.

Shopping is a great emotional drain for me. I don’t know what a good value is, or even what looks good. So God took care of that for me, and He blessed me with a friend willing to suggest what to toss and what to keep, even to the point of suggesting I shave my goatee. (I had the goatee not because I liked it, but because—with my dilapidated wardrobe—it hardly seemed worth the trouble to shave every day.)

God had been stirring me to share in churches His concern for the world. In preparation, He is taking the initiative to remake me inside and out.

He is my Father and I am His child, He has made me to be a prince in His kingdom. And He has given me new clothes.


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