JT had been traveling for so long and he was growing tired of the journey. He yearned for a place to settle down. As he turned the bend in the road, he saw a most glorious sight. Such a tribute to God he had never seen before in his life.
As he approached, he expected that it would look not as spectacular. He was very wrong. There were so many different types of shiny rocks covering the structure. It looked like a castle, and the castle was made out of red, purple, yellow and clear crystals that were shining in the sun.
He walked closer and closer and finally got close enough to get a view of what the walls, crosses and arches were made. JT stopped, with his mouth open, and just stared. He didn’t know what to say.
A kindly looking old gentleman walked up to him. “It’s quite spectacular isn’t it?” JT nodded. “And…this was all built by one man. He has been doing this for over 40 years. Everyday all day he comes and builds some more.”
“It’s quite a tribute to God, don’t you think?” JT asked. The man replied, ‘walk around and when you are done, please come see me. I live right over there, my wife and I will have a meal ready for you.”
JT gulped, “Thank you. I am not sure how long it will take to see this.” “Take as long as you like.” The old gentleman replied sadly and then walked away.
JT was confused. ‘Why would he be sad about this? This is truly glorious.’ JT walked around and through all the different parts of the spectacular structure. There were walkways, fountains, and each little courtyard illustrated a different part of the Bible. It was beautiful. He sure thought that God must be proud of this man for doing all this for him.
After quite a few hours, JT had walked through almost all of it. When he got to one point he saw a man, he looked haggard, and had the longest beard of anyone he had ever seen. He was feverishly working, putting stones into the mortar and building a new courtyard.
JT stopped and watched him walk. He didn’t look happy at what he had already done; he was working as though driven. JT stood behind him waiting to talk to him, but the man did not stop working. He glanced at JT, appeared as though nothing was as important as what he was doing, and continued working.
JT gave up trying to get the man’s attention, and decided to take the kindly old man’s offer of a meal. He walked slowly over there, marveling at all the work the man had done. He could see the newer items just put in, and the much older ones that had been there for many years.
When JT found the little house, outside the walls of the grand structure, he headed in that direction. There was a table laid out with drinks and food underneath a large leafy tree. A small fountain flowed gurgled nearby, and soft bird music came from the branches above. JT waved and walked over.
He was offered a bowl of cool water and a cloth to wash his face and hands. He noticed that a lady sat in one chair and the gentleman sat in the other. “This is my wife,” the man said, “please have a seat and a cool drink.” JT smiled, nodded, and replied, “My name is JT. Thank you very much for your hospitality.”
“What did you think of our sons’ creation?” The woman asked. “It’s lovely, spectacular, like nothing I have ever seen,” JT replied. She nodded, “and yet it is not enough.” JT asked, “Not enough for what?”
“Our son started building that many years ago. He wanted to make something so grand that God would have to grant him access to heaven. He has been working every day for years. When others come by, they marvel, and send him rocks from all over the world. When the rocks arrive, he takes them and puts them in whatever courtyard he is working on at the time.” The lady said sadly.
“Aren’t you proud of him?” JT asked. “Oh yes,” said the gentleman, “but it is not enough. It can never be enough. God promised us salvation if we would but humble ourselves before him, confess our sins and believe that he is giving us a gift.”
The woman added, “Our son won’t believe that. So,” she said with a deep sigh, “no matter what he has done it will never be enough. He won’t believe that though. It is so sad.”
JT took a look, once again, at the structure, seeing it as it was. It was not a tribute to God; it was a bribe to God trying to buy salvation. JT’s eyes misted over and he softly said, “Hopefully he will understand before it’s too late.”
QOTD: This story illustrated how a person could think they can earn their salvation through good works, when it is a gift from God they cannot earn. Have you ever tried to ‘earn’ your salvation before you knew better? Do you know anyone like this?
To read the introduction to this series please click HERE