The Rich Man – a story

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     Once upon a time, there was a man. A very rich man. He was also a very holy man. He trusted God with his life and tried his best to follow what he was taught. The man was now very very old. As the man grew old and weak, he realised that soon he would die. He trusted that when that happened, he would go to Heaven. But he was worried. He did not like the idea of going empty-handed, of not taking anything with him.

“God,” he prayed, “I know that when I die you have promised to accept me in to Heaven. And I know that I am not meant to take anything. But please, could you make an exception in this case? Could you let me take a bag with me?”

Now, God is a kind God, so he considered the man’s request very carefully. He knew that the man had tried his best to follow him during his life, that he had been generous and kind, that he had shown mercy and tried to live a good life. He knew that the man was very worried about this and God didn’t want him to be anxious. So he agreed, he told the man that he could take one small bag to Heaven.

Soon after this, as expected, the man died. He arrived in Heaven, carrying one small bag.

“Oh,” said the angel at the entrance, “you cannot bring that in here. You cannot bring anything to Heaven.”

“Yes, I know,” replied the man, “but God gave me special permission.”

So the angel went to check and sure enough, he discovered that this man was allowed to bring one small bag into Heaven. Now, word quickly spread amongst the angels and saints in Heaven and they all wondered, what had this man brought into Heaven? So they all came, eager to see.

They crowded round the man, peering over each other’s shoulders, jostling for position as the man knelt down and slowly unzipped his bag. There, shining brightly, were four solid gold bars.

There was a moment of complete silence.

Then,perplexed, one of the angels asked, “You brought pavement?”

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      I love this story. I heard it in church, I cannot even remember who told it but I used it many time when teaching because I think it makes a good point. When we decide to follow God, we sometimes have to let go of things and this can be hard. Whether it is our ambitions, dreams, or wealth , there is actually no point in holding on to them. What God provides is always so much better.

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