Juanita hurried over to the big sale. The missionary had almost all his family's things up for sale since they had to move away. Juanita was very poor and someone had told her that she could get some good buys at the sale.
When she arrived, Juanita found the large room at the back of the house already crowded with people, each quickly snatching up things to buy. Juanita knew she would have to move fast if she found something she could use.
"Oh no!" the missionary called out at one point. "Don't sell those things! Those are the shirts from my suitcase!"
Well, it was hard to know what was for sale and what wasn't. Finally Juanita found some paint that was a brown color, and decided it would do nicely to paint her house. The can had been opened but it was still full. When she asked the price, she found that it was indeed a bargain. Juanita carried her paint home, pleased at finding it at such a good price.
She did not wait long to begin work. Soon she dipped her brush into the brown paint and spread it over the boards of her house. Strange that the paint did not cover the boards. Did it need mixing? As Juanita looked more closely at the paint, she saw that something was wrong with it. Why, this wasn't paint at all! It was nothing but mud! In her rush to buy it she hadn't noticed.
Poor Juanita. You can well imagine her disappointment when she realized she was trying to fix up her house with a can of mud. And there are other people who try to fix up something far more important with things just as worthless as a can of mud. Sad to say, many people try to make their lives better by "trying to do the best they can" or by "not being as bad as their neighbor" or saying they've "never done any harm to anyone."
There is nothing wrong with doing your best — just as there is nothing wrong with a little mud. But mud won't do the job of painting walls, and "doing your best" will never be good enough to make your life acceptable to God. God's Word, the Bible, says plainly, "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Every one of us has to admit that we have not always done the best we could, and that many times we have proved that the Bible is true when it says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Not even one small sin can come into the presence of a God who can have no darkness at all.
But God is also love, and He has in His great love provided a way, not just to make your sinful life a little better, but rather to give you a new life. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). You don't need to try to fix up your life before you come to Jesus. Come just the way your are — in your sins. Just accept Him as your Saviour and He will give you everlasting life.
Juanita closed the can of mud and made a sad trip back to the missionary's house. She explained that it was mud, not paint. Would he give her money back?
The missionary couldn't help but chuckle, but he also explained with some embarrassment that he had tried to make some clay for a potter's wheel. Too much water had been added to the clay, and somehow the can it was in had been set out beside a few cans of paint. It wasn't until after Juanita got her money back that she could laugh too. Imagine painting her house with mud!
Are you willing to admit that all your "good works" are just as useless as Juanita's can of mud? "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [good works] are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Come to the Lord Jesus today for salvation and He will wash your sins away and give you a new life.
Copied with permission for WholesomeWords.org from Messages of God's Love. Story also in Hugo and the Condors... published by Bible Truth Publishers.