This week, I came across an odd story that I’d like to share with you. It’s a “preacher story” told by Tony Evans. It goes like this: One day there was a tall man’s parade in the army. In the tall man’s parade, you had to be a certain height to be in the parade. In this particular bunk, there were three guys who wanted to participate in and be a part of the parade. On was nicknamed Chubby (I’d want a different nickname, but that’s beside the point). He was kind of short and round. Another was named Jim. He was sort of an average build and midsized. The tallest of these three went by Slim, and he was fairly tall.
Well, the officer came in and put a mark on the door. The three guys had to back themselves up against the door to determine whether they could be in the tall man’s parade. Chubby looked at the mark and he didn’t even bother to stand by the door. He knew that it was too high and he would never qualify for it. After looking at the mark, Jim figured that he would give it a try. He backed up against the door, but unfortunately, he was too short. Slim began to laugh at and mock his bunkmates. When he had finished teasing them, he then confidently backed himself up against the mark on the door.
The officer reached up to check Slim’s height. “Sorry, Slim. You are one-eight of an inch too short.” Slim was taken aback. He protested, “But wait a minute, what do you mean? I’m taller than Chubby!” The officer insisted. “I know, but you’re too short for the parade.” Slim continued, “But I’m taller than Jim!” “You’re right, but you’re too short for the parade.” The officer repeated. Slim pleaded, “But, I’m only a fraction of an inch too short!” The irritated officer responded, “You might as well be two feet too short! We can’t reduce the standard even if it’s by one-eight of an inch.”
Here’s the point of the story: You may be taller than your neighbor, but you’re too short for God. You may be taller than your coworker, but you’re too short for God. You may only be one-eighth of an inch too short, but since God’s glory and His righteousness requires perfection, you might as well be a criminal on death row (cf. Romans 3:21-26). When it comes to the standard of God, nothing short of perfection is acceptable. Your best in the face of a holy God adds up to zero. Paul expressed it this way, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Even the most righteous among us will only inherit eternal life because of the immeasurable grace found in Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6). Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)