Once upon a time there was a short little boy who wanted to be tall. He noticed that all the best and most beautiful things in life were on the top shelf, far too high for him to reach.
“I want to be taller so I can reach the top shelf,” the short boy told his short father.
“Then you need to try harder to be tall,” his short father said. “Exercise a lot, eat healthy foods, and brush your teeth three times a day. That will make you taller.”
So the short boy exercised every day, ate healthy foods, and brushed his teeth three times a day, but he was still short and still couldn’t reach the top shelf.
So the short boy asked his short mother for help.
“You’re just not trying hard enough,” his short mother said. “Concentrate very hard about being tall, and you will be.”
The little boy thought so hard about being tall that he gave himself headaches, but he was still short. He asked his short teacher what he should do.
“Read books about tall people,” his short teacher said. “If you study tall people and learn to think like them, you’ll be tall yourself.”
But that didn’t work either.
“You just don’t want to be tall,” his short grandmother told him one day. “In my day, when a person wanted to be tall, he decided to be tall, and he was. There was none of this foolishness.”
That didn’t help the short boy at all.
“Why are you so worried about being tall?” his short friends asked him. “In case you haven’t noticed, everybody is short. Let’s find people who are shorter than us and make fun of them. Then we’ll feel tall.”
Sadly, that’s what they did. The short boy and his short friends found other children who were even shorter and teased them until they cried.
“It’s nice to know I’m not the shortest person in the world,” the short boy said. “I need to accept myself for the size I am and forget about all the good things on the top shelf. I’ll be happy with only the things I can reach myself.”
The short boy grew into a short man. When the short man went for walks, he couldn’t see over the fence to the beautiful scenery beyond it. “That’s okay,” he said. “I don’t care about the scenery. I go for walks because I want to see the fence.”
When the short man went to the library, he saw interesting books he wanted to read, but they were on the top shelf. “That’s okay,” he said. “I don’t care about those books. I really wanted to read these books on the bottom shelf.”
When the short man fixed supper, he could only reach the food in the bottom of his pantry. “That’s okay,” he said. “I like food that comes from the lower shelves the best.”
For many years he believed these lies he told himself. But as he got older, he began to have nightmares that he was growing shorter and shorter. Searching for answers that would put a stop to his terrible dreams, he walked into a church. He was so short that when he sat in a pew, his feet didn’t touch the ground.
“Jesus is very tall,” the pastor preached. “He’s the tallest person who ever lived.”
“I want to be tall like Jesus,” the short man said to the short church member sitting next to him.
“Then you should read your Bible and pray as hard as you can,” the short church member said. “Doing those things as hard as you can will make you tall.”
But no matter how much the short man prayed, read his Bible, or tried to be tall like Jesus, he was still short.
Then, one day, the short man went to his kitchen to fix supper. To his dismay, he discovered that he had eaten all the food on the lower shelves. Yes, there was food on the higher shelves, but he couldn’t reach it. He used a short stool, a short chair, and even a short ladder, but nothing would allow him to reach the top shelves to get the food.
“What am I supposed to do?” the short man cried. “I’ll starve because I’m short.”
Then the doorbell rang. To the short man’s surprise, Jesus was standing at the door, and Jesus was the tallest person the short man had ever seen.
“Would you like me to reach that food on the top shelf for you?” Jesus asked.
The short man welcomed Jesus in. Because Jesus was so tall, He easily reached all the food on the top shelf and used it to fix a delicious supper for the man.
When the dishes were washed and put away, Jesus asked, “Is there anything else I can do to help you while I’m here?”
“Could you make me taller?” the man asked. “My entire life, I’ve tried everything I could to be taller, but nothing works. What should I do?”
“There’s nothing you can do,” Jesus said. “You were born short. You need a tall person--Me—to reach the top shelves for you.”
“Can’t you just move all the things from the top shelf down low for me? Then I can reach them myself and I won’t need you.”
“I’m not going to do that,” Jesus replied.
“What am I supposed to do?” the short man demanded. “Do you want me to starve?”
“Not at all,” Jesus said. “I want you to have access to everything. That’s why I came over.”
“So I have to ask you every single time I need something?”
“Exactly,” Jesus replied. “I’m the only one tall enough to reach the top shelf. If you let me move into your house, I’d be here all the time to reach anything you needed.”
“Why do you want to move in with me?” the short man asked in amazement.
“Because I’d like us to be friends. I gave you your desire for the good things on the top shelf. If I lived with you all the time, we could go walking together and I could lift you up over the fence to see the beautiful scenery beyond it. We could go to the library together and I could pull down the most interesting books from the top shelf for us to read. We could cook dinner every night using the best food that only I can reach.”
“I don’t want to bother you with all that,” the short man protested. “If you just made me taller, then I could do all those things by myself.”
“You’re missing the point,” Jesus told him. “You will always be short, but you can be friends forever with the tallest person in the universe. I can reach everything you need.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, let anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 (NKJV)