Magazine Article

Fine And Unworthy

A parable

Bill Weber
Fine And Unworthy
Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

Mr. I. M. Fine went to church very early Sabbath morning to pray. As he stood at the front of the empty church, telling God why he was so good and why he one day expected to enter heaven, he noticed another man who hadn’t been to church for months, Mr. I. B. Unworthy, slip quietly to a corner in the back of the church and fall to his knees. Mr. Fine could barely hear as Mr. Unworthy sorrowfully told the Lord in sobs how sinful he had been. He asked if there was any chance, someday, in spite of his miserable life, that he could make it to heaven. 

I. M. Fine was about to return to his pompous praying when he noticed a brilliant light shining through the stained-glass windows. Curious, he went outside, followed slowly by I. B. Unworthy, who had also noticed the surprising phenomenon. They both were shocked and amazed: it was Jesus descending in a glorious cloud amid a company of countless angels!

Then to his horror, I. M. Fine saw I. B. Unworthy suddenly taken up into the air, and within seconds he was among a multitude of other righteous ones joining the company of angels. I. M. Fine fell to his knees, weeping in despair and crying, “What’s going on? This can’t be happening! He’s got to take me. Why, I was just telling Him all the good things I’ve been doing and how wicked so many in the world are. I’m much better than that fellow Unworthy. How could I be left and not he?”

Just then he heard a voice echoing repeatedly from above, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . . Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . . Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinn . . .”

I. M. Fine awoke with a start, shaking and in a cold sweat. It had all been a dream. A terrible dream. He quickly sat up in bed and cried out, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”! Oh, God, I’ve had it wrong, so wrong. I’ve had it all backwards. Why couldn’t I see! I’ve looked down upon others I judged to be unworthy sinners, when all along I’ve been in a worse condition. Lost! I’ve pictured myself as meeting Jesus in the air, but I’ve been so terribly wrong. I’d be left behind! Forgive me, oh, forgive me, Lord, for my arrogance,” he pleaded.  

He lay back down there in his dark room in deep thought until the light of morning crept through the window.

Very early the next Sabbath morning, as usual, I. M. Fine went to the church to pray. This time, though, he found himself making his way to a corner at the rear of the church, where he fell to his knees in humble prayer. Suddenly he saw a brilliant light shining through the stained-glass windows. He couldn’t believe it! More curious than even in his dream, he slowly went outside to see what was happening.

He looked up. Greatly relieved, he saw that it was the sun shining brightly through a break in the dark clouds. He stood there in silence for a time. With a widening smile of realization, he remembered his dream of a few nights before when the sunlight of God’s Word had pierced through the dismal clouds that had darkened his understanding. Early Monday morning I. M. Fine went to the courthouse in town and changed his name to I. C. Clearly, because now he does.

Bill Weber

Bill Weber is retired in Walnutport, Pennsylvania, after work in marketing and public relations for Adventist HealthCare.