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New Uniform

A Make Believe Parable by Uncle Steve.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller
(cc)

“Why don’t you get something decent to wear? Ha, ha” Hannah laughed as Alyssa shuffled down the hallway to her classroom.

“Where’d you get your clothes, the dumpster?” Christy sneered, all the kids laughed as if it were the funniest joke they’d ever heard.

Alyssa’s school was in a very high-class area and most of her classmates came from the richest families in town. But she wasn’t rich. In fact her family was so poor that they couldn’t even afford to buy her the required school uniform at the beginning of the year so they had asked around and found one from a girl who had been her size last year. It was faded and stained up and the edges were ragged but it was all she could get. Oh, how the kids teased poor Alyssa till she wanted to run away and hide all day!

It wasn’t just the kids who didn’t like Alyssa’s uniform. Her teachers and principal were mortified that in such a high-class school they had a girl who looked so poor and ragged—they thought it made the whole school look bad. No, the teachers didn’t make fun of her like the kids did but they did pressure Alyssa and her parents to get her a “decent” uniform that would represent the school properly. But there just was no way she or her family could afford such clothing.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller
(cc)

Then one day as the final bell rang and the kids were scampering out the door Mrs. K called, “Alyssa, will you stay behind please?”

When the classroom was empty Alyssa sat at her desk with her head down “I wonder what Mrs. K wants? I didn’t do anything bad, did I?” she wondered.

“Now Alyssa,” Mrs. K began, “You know that we have a rule about what clothes you must wear to school.”

“But, I have a uniform” Alyssa protested.

“I’m not done,” Mrs. K scolded, “The rules say that your uniform must be clean and in good condition. Yours is totally faded, stained, and ratty that’s not what I call ‘good condition’”.

Alyssa waited to make sure her teacher was done talking, “B-but my mom washed it last night. It’s clean; really it is! It just looks dirty because it’s old. We don’t have enough money to buy a new one!” she said, a tear sliding down her cheek.

“Well, as you know, next Monday the superintendent of schools and the school inspectors will be here to inspect our school. We don’t want you spoiling our school’s score. Can you imagine how embarrassing it will be for our school if the Superintendent sees you in those awful clothes? You must come up with a decent school uniform by Monday. Am I making myself clear, young lady?”

Alyssa nodded. Mrs. K had been clear but what could she do? Mrs. K gave her a note to take to her mom that said just about the same thing and dismissed her.

“Mommy, Mommy, I just have to have a better uniform!” Alyssa wailed when she got home. “The kids all tease me and now Mrs. K says I have to have one by Monday.” Mom read the letter and Alyssa told her all about her talk with her teacher.

All week their family saved every penny. Alyssa did chores for the neighbors to try to earn money but it was no use by Sunday they still only had $13.21 to spend on a new uniform which would cost nearly $50.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller
(cc)

“Do I have to wear that ugly old thing again?” Alyssa whined as she put on the hated uniform again on Monday morning. But there was no other way.

When she got to school Mrs. K was very upset and the kids turned their backs to her. Alyssa noticed that the clock said 10:05 when the superintendent and her inspectors came into her classroom. She wished she could be invisible. The desks were in strait rows, the things on the shelves were neatly stacked and the kids all looked perfect as they sat at their desks. Everything was in perfect order; everything, that is, except Alyssa’s uniform. The Superintendent and Mrs. K whispered to each other; Alyssa knew they were talking about her because every once-in-a-while they pointed at her. Then Mrs. K announced, “Alyssa, the superintendent would like to see you in the principals office right away.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller
(cc)

The kids snickered behind their hands as she shuffled out of the classroom and toward the principal’s office. “What will she say; what will she do?” she wondered.

It seemed like an eternity before the superintendent came into the room. Alyssa was too ashamed to look at her. “Hi Alyssa, I’m Mrs. Daniels.” She began in a kind voice. “Mrs. K told me about your situation. I’m afraid that this uniform is not acceptable here.”

“I tried, I really did! But I just couldn’t get enough money for a new one. Please don’t be mad!” she wailed “an-and please don’t make the school lose points because of me.”

“I would have to mark off the school because of that uniform. That’s what the rules say. But I’ve come up with a better idea.” The kind lady said with a twinkle in her eye. Then reaching into a bag she pulled out a brand new uniform just Alyssa’s size! “Try this on.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller
(cc)

“W-what? For me!?!” Alyssa screeched. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” She ran to the bathroom to try it on. It fit perfectly! “It fits, it fits!” she cried as she hugged Mrs. Daniels so tight she could hardly breath.

“Then this uniform is yours on one condition.” Mrs. Daniels said with a smile.

“What’s that?” Alyssa asked her face falling.

“You have to give me your old one. Deal?”

“Deal!!!” Alyssa said enthusiastically as she handed the old dirty uniform to Mrs. Daniels.

“One more thing, Alyssa, tell your mom that I told the store that if you ever need any more school clothes to give them to you and I’ll pay for them. Now I think you should join you class again!”

Alyssa felt as if she was flying as she made her way back to class. Never again would she have to be the worst dressed girl in the school!

That’s like what Jesus will do for you. Heaven’s uniform is a robe of righteousness (righteousness means being perfect). But we have all sinned so our “uniforms are all dirty and old. No matter how hard you try you can’t clean up your own sin. The Bible says, “ All of us are dirty with sin.
All the right things we have done are like filthy pieces of cloth.” Isaiah 64:6 NCV

But Jesus is like the superintendent. When we confess that we cannot be good on our own He takes our old dirty uniform and gives us his own fresh, new, clean one. “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10 NLT

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I accept Jesus as my personal Savior. I confess that I have ugly sin in my life and can’t stop doing bad things; please forgive me and give your clean robe of righteousness. Please be in charge of all my hopes and dreams and future plans. I give my whole life to You. I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I ask that You make me want what you want. Thank you for giving me your perfectly clean uniform and eternal life right now. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Story Copyright (c) April 2008 by Steve Severance. Images are under the Creative Commons license(cc).