"No way am I setting foot in your church. Ever!" The farmer was adamant in response to the pastor's invitation. "Tom Black and Sam Werner go to your church, and if they're examples of Christians, I have no interest."
"I understand," agreed the pastor. They walked through the farmyard, past beautifully maintained fences and barns, talking about the nature of farming and the marketplace.
Before he left, the pastor turned to his friend, "By the way, I'm looking for a good hog. Do you have any for sale?"
"Sure do. See that one over by the trough? Its sire won second in the county and the sow won the state fair last year. Let's make a deal!"
"How much?" asked the pastor.
"For you, I'd let it go for $500."
"That's a bit more than I was thinking. How about the three-legged one we saw in the barn?"
The farmer laughed. "That one is just eating up my profits. It's practically worthless. I'd give it to you for $4. You have to pay extra for butchering, of course."
"I'll take it!" said the pastor, pulling out his wallet and handing over four one-dollar bills. "I'm not planning on eating it anyhow. I'm just going to ride around for a while and show people the kind of pigs you have out here."
The farmer was shocked, thrusting back the money. "You can't do that! I have world-class animals here. He's the worst. The runt and worth nothing!"
"Well, you're judging us by our runts, aren't you? You've lumped us all in with a coupla hypocrites who may be the worst specimens of our faith." The pastor reached out his hand and took the money with a smile, "Hope to see you Sunday!"
Parable loosely paraphrased from a presentation on UCB Inspirational radio. Love their "new" hymns, too.
*For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12 NLT
*If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NEV
*How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 NIV