For awhile one fall I was taking an evening upgrading class with about twenty others.  We had an interesting teacher; he was a sincere young man who had some understanding of spiritual things and I felt a certain rapport with him.

One evening he said he was going to tell us a joke, so we all listened up as he related the following fable:

A very wealthy man, getting close to the end of his life, just couldn’t bear to leave all his money behind.  He pleaded with God to allow him to take some of his money along to Heaven.  God’s initial answer was “No,” but the old man begged so much that the Lord finally relented and said, “Okay.  You can bring just one suitcase.”

So the miser rushed off to the bank, had his stocks and bonds sold and used that money to buy gold bars.  He packed them carefully in a large suitcase, taking as much as absolutely possible.  When the Death Angel called for him, he was ready; he grabbed his suitcase and away they went.

When he got to the Pearly Gates St. Peter told him, “You’re not allowed to bring anything from your earthly life in here.”

“I’ve talked it all over with God and He told me I could bring along this one suitcase.”

“Well, what’s in it?” St. Peter asked.

The man opened it up to show him all the lovely gold bars.

St. Peter was puzzled.  “You brought pavement?”

The punch line connected immediately in my mind and I laughed right on cue– but I was the only one in the whole room who did.  (Now that feels odd!)  Everyone else sat there clueless and silent as stones.

The teacher explained his “joke” to the class; he told them the streets of Heaven are paved with gold, so the miser had only brought more pavement, which didn’t make sense at all to St. Peter.  Some of my classmates finally smiled, but a joke that has to be explained has lost its “funny”.

Some other thought-provoking quotes on riches and laying up treasure in Heaven:

“When we kneel in prayer and ask God to meet the needs of our fellow human beings, we must also ask Him to deliver us from the selfishness which expends our means upon ourselves.”

“Wanting less is sometimes greater riches than having more.”

“Giving is not just a way of raising money.  It is God’s way of raising men.”

“You can’t take your money to heaven, but you can send it on ahead.”



  1. The old Proverb is true, “He who laughs last did not get the joke.” the sad part is they did not understand the joke because they do not know Jesus. Christine wow! what a great mission field you have in front of you! I pray right now for Holy Spirit to open doors for you to boldly speak with the Love of Christ His Good News. Amen. james


      • Christine, I “Liked” your post because it made me smile too. But, I’m stealing your return comment to James, “Let us work while ’tis day,…., soon millions will be at the Judgement…” strikes a feeling of need in me. I’m going to share it on my Facebook page. 🙂

        Your loyal word thief, Leslie


      • Yes Alan, that is a great line, for the daylight is growing dim. My heart is pressed heavy upon for the lost, an out pouring of the Holy Spirit to convict of sins. and a new boldness of the Good News from Myself, my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen


      • This is something that should concern us all, but at the same time, we need to offer the Gospel rather than ramming it home. We were to a relative’s funeral and there were two short talks, one of them especially warning of judgement, then a major lengthy sermon explaining the plan of salvation in full detail. The thought was, “There are unbelievers here that need to hear the Gospel!”

        By the time the AMEN was said, I felt OD’d on religion! I wonder if the unbelievers just tuned out after half an hour? It’s kind of like a “Learn French in only 6 hours” package. How much can one person absorb of something that’s foreign to their usual vocabulary?


    • Well, my teacher was RC so probably would have ascribed to the “St. Peter keeping the Gate” idea more than I would, but I thought the story made a terrific point.
      I was sorry for why no one else got the punch line. It gives you an odd sensation being the only one who laughed in a room full of people.
      I have more to write about that class someday. I was shocked that, in those 15 or so people (born and raised in Canada, educated in our schools) doing one little “match cities & countries” quiz, few knew that the city of Ottawa was in the country of Canada!


      • …and they were from Canada? Wow! Now I get that down in the States all the time. People are often very ignorant about the greography of their neighbor to the north. But then again, they are often ignorant about geography in general. I took on a geography class for one of our students to enable her to finish a class upon transfer. As a high school student, she couldn’t even identify the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Schools are not the same as when I went.


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