Acceptable Defects

The following is reported to be a true story that says a lot about Japanese products and their quality standards.

It seems that IBM decided to have some parts manufactured in Japan as a trial project. In the specifications, they specified that they would only accept three defective parts per 10,000.

When the delivery came to IBM, there was an accompanying letter: "We Japanese have a hard time understanding North American business practices. But the three defective parts have been included and wrapped separately. Hope this pleases you." The Japanese company gave IBM what they specified -- three defective parts and 9,997 good parts!

I wonder, how many defects are we willing to accept in our spiritual lives? "Yes, I know there's some greed and gossip and lust, but three defects per ten thousand is still acceptable!" Is our goal as Christians to get our "defects" down to an "acceptable" level, or is our goal to get rid of them all? I know, I know, we'll never achieve that level of perfection in this life. But what is our goal? How much sin are we willing to tolerate before it becomes "unacceptable"?

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2)

"My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin." (I John 2:1a)

That's our goal! May you be satisfied in your spiritual life with nothing less than striving to follow the perfect example of Jesus Christ himself.

Alan Smith Innisfil, ON, Canada

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