2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Once upon a time a man lived in the streets, clad only in the dirtiest and worst of rags. One day a person from the Palace saw him, and approached him. There was going to be a banquet at the Palace, and he had instructions to come and invite people from the highways and byways. Would he like to come?
The man was indeed interested. However, he could not attend a banquet dressed in his rags. The Palace representative assured him they would exchange his rags for some suitable finery to wear to the banquet.
All was in order. The two arrived at the Palace where they went directly to the dressing chambers of the King. Servants took the filthy rags, bundled them in a little package, and proceeded to rub, scrub, and clean the man from top to bottom.
He was then allowed to choose his robes from the closets of the King. He was told that whatever he picked he would be able to keep, so he carefully examined all the many garments in the closet. He chose an exquisite inner garment of purest silk, and an outer robe of finest purple satin. He was ready for the banquet!
As they left the dressing quarters, the man grabbed his old rags. The servants told him to just leave them, because he wouldn't need them anymore. However, he insisted on taking the bundle with him. Even though he didn't need the rags now, he felt more secure somehow if he could just hold on to them.
In the Palace banquet hall, the festivities were about to begin. Nearly everyone was there, including the King himself. The man was seated, looking magnificent in his new attire. He hid his bundle of rags on his lap, underneath the tablecloth, so no one would see them.
The banquet was not to be believed! There was music and dancing, and every kind of delicacy imaginable. As the trays were passed, the beggar had difficulty getting the food onto his plate. He was constantly juggling the package of old rags on his lap, balancing it so it wouldn't fall off. It constantly distracted him from what was going on in the grand hall.
Eventually the evening ended and the great gala event was over. Everyone was stuffed to the gills except for the man clinging to his rag bundle. He was as hungry as when he had come in. He never had eaten even one morsel of the food. He had been too busy fixing and holding on to his old rags.
Jesus invites all of us to God's great banquet, to leave our old ways and old rags, and to say, "Yes!" To Him and to a new and glorious way of living. That is good news!
Dear Lord, we thank You for the invitation to come to Your banquet. Help us to let go of the dirty rags. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.