In my first area, Lewistown, Montana, the First Counselor in the Bishopric told this parable over the pulpit. He, like many Montana natives, is a bit of a cowboy, so this is definitely a cowboy story. But, it's great! It won't be word for word what he said, but it'll be the same story and same message.
One day, I was driving my truck down the highway, admiring the vast scenery that surrounded me. As I was taking in the beautiful landscape, one particular pasture caught my eye. Just on the other side of it was this beautiful view. I had never seen anything so breathtaking. I had to get a picture of it. The problem was, it was too far away for my camera to truly capture its beauty from where I was at. I would have to cross the pasture to get there.
I got out of my truck and walked over to the fence. I was about to hop over it, when a man came out of seemingly no where, and asked what I was doing. He was a very well dressed man, clothed completely in white: white hat, white shirt, white duster, white chaps over his white jeans, and white boots. I asked if he was the owner of the ranch, and he said no, he was the manager. I asked if I could walk across the pasture to see the view on the other side. He said he'd have to ask the manager. Suddenly, I heard a voice, but saw no one else. It was the owner, and he was clearly shy, as he didn't come out to talk to me. He said, "You may walk across the pasture, but there is one condition: you can only enter into the place on the other side if your boots are completely clean." I looked down at my new, shiny boots and thought no problem. The manager then said, "Here, you may need this." He handed me a white handkerchief. I looked at it, and read the tag. On it, it said "REP, Ent." I was intrigued by the label. I'd never heard of the company before, but I thought nothing of it, and hopped the fence and started on my way.
I had no sooner started my trek, when I noticed that the field that lay in front of me was a seemingly endless bovine minefield. I had apparently not been paying much attention to the actual state of the pasture. But, nevertheless, I decided to proceed. I walked with the utmost care, weaving in and out of fresh piles of cow pies. Every so often, I would bend over and wipe my boots clean with the handkerchief the manager had given me. The destination seemed so far, and the handkerchief was getting filthier and filthier. I began to worry.
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, I reached the other side. The white handkerchief now fully brown, I felt that I had accomplished the difficult task: I had reached the other side with clean boots. I was about to open the gate and enter in, when I noticed it was locked. Then, I saw the manager coming over, holding the key in his hand. "Welcome," he said. He smiled at me, and I smiled back. Then, I heard the voice again, the voice of the owner. I still saw no one, but I could distinctly hear him say "I'm sorry, but you can't come in. Your boots are dirty." I was shocked. I had surely wiped them. I looked down, and sure enough, there on the tip of my toe, was a spot of brown. I was crushed. I was so close, and there was just a little bit. I hung my head, and was about to turn back, when I heard the manager say, "Wait!" I turned back and looked at him. He walked over, bent down, and with his own spotless, pure white duster, he wiped the last bit of dirt from my boots, making them look as clean as new. He smiled at me, and I returned the smile.
"Very good," said the owner. "You may enter."
Let us always remember to repent, and know that through Christ's unfailing love for us and ultimate sacrifice, that we may be washed clean, and able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.