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« Thoughts on Prosperity Teachers | Main | Money and Maids »

January 20, 2008

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FMF, this reminds me of the old "gold bars" joke:

A rich man dies and meets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. He is very wealthy, but he's been faithful and kind and St. Peter tells him, “Good news—you’re in!” But the man is sad because he loves his beautiful home and all his wonderful possessions and he thinks he’s going to miss them. So he asks if he can bring one bag of his stuff with him into heaven. St. Peter says that it’s against policy (you can’t take it with you, after all) but he feels sorry for the man. So he says, “Okay, you can bring one sack of your treasures with you, but only one sack.”

So the man returns to his estate and looks at all of his elegant and expensive things. He has a hard time deciding what to bring. Finally, he goes to his safe where he has hidden several solid gold bars. He thinks that these gold bricks are his favorites . . . he worked so hard to get them and they were his security when the economy was bad. So he stuffs them into the sack and carries them back to heaven. The path is steep and the gold is very heavy, but he eventually appears before St. Peter, tired and sweaty, dragging his sack.

St. Peter asks him if he can take a peek at what’s in the bag. The man proudly opens it and St. Peter looks in. Then bewildered and incredulous, St. Peter looks at the man and says, “Pavement? You brought pavement?!”

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Of course, this joke is refering to the description of Heaven from Revelation. See Revelation 21:21 where "the street of the city is pure gold."

FMF, I appreciate the cartoon, but what is your take on it?
I think the real point of "can't take it with" isn't worth much after you already have all the stuff you want. The value in it is when you can appreciate the idea now and do better things with your life than live selfishly. It's the choices you make to spend time and money helping others instead of making yourself a little more comfortable.
It seems to me that most people who say they agree with this are still planning on maintaining estates and passing much of it on to their families. We get caught up in what we can buy, how comfortable our house is, and how much security we can provide ourselves.
Imagine another cartoon with a guy in a big house full of stuff saying "I've invested every spare penny I had for ten years, so now I can afford to make a nice donation to charity", while on the street in front of his house a homeless guy is sharing the only food he has with a homeless child and thinking "I've managed to come up with enough food to survive until now, so I can afford to share what I have left to help this child do the same." The differences in what people value, and what they can "afford", can make a huge difference in how they live.

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