Every weekday morning the crowds gathered. They stood waiting in line outside the Life Museum. Security guards managed to keep order by roping off the main foyer allowing one at a time groups of twelve to enter the eastern wing.
The sky-scraping cylindrical alcove drew everyone’s attention as the main attraction. Lining the interior of the alcove was a fascinating multitude of beautifully colored ladders. The color wheel of brilliance offered deep green, bright yellow, shimmery pearl, brilliant red, indigo, shiny gold, orange, turquoise, stunning silver, and so on. One group at a time, the visitors rushed in to marvel at the mystique of each promising ladder.
Each ladder represented a particular pursuit in life. For instance, the gold ladder represented riches, the green ladder represented good deeds, silver represented status, indigo morality, red power or fame, pearl physical beauty, and so on. In regards to climbing, there was one rule. Only one ladder could be chosen per visitor.
Each climber struggled with anticipation over the big decision of which ladder to choose. Upon selecting a ladder, each visitor began with excitement as he placed his foot on the bottom rung and began his ascent. Step by step each visitor disappeared from sight. When he did, the next visitor in line followed likewise with excitement for what awaited him at the top.
Among the many colorful choices of ladders, one stood apart from the rest. It was plain and constructed of rough wood. And while the other ladders teemed with seekers, this particular ladder was often unoccupied.
The wooden ladder was different from the others. Not only was it made of wood, but to the climbers’ consternation a strange sensation accompanied it. While making their way up this ladder, they experienced the distinct sensation of falling.
One by one as the climbers of the colorful ladders approached the top, their hearts swelled in culmination of their pursuit. Unfortunately though upon reaching the last rung they paused, and stood stunned. In the face of disillusionment, they failed to find anything hopeful. Before them in every direction lay an unexpected void.
The climbers’ hearts stood dashed and disenchanted as they, one after the other, wandered around in the nothingness. Hopelessness assaulted and overwhelmed them. The cold realization of the ladders’ deceptive nature cast them adrift in despair, confusion and quarrel.
Meanwhile, when the climbers of the timber ladder reached the top, they discovered more than they had expected. While having endured the falling sensation all along, they too paused, but in unbelief. All around them in every direction as far as the eye could see lay a feast for the eyes, tremendous piles of gold, silver and precious jewels.
The precious metals and gems surrounding them sparkled wildly. Some lay heaped in opened gold chests and others in enormous half-spilled velvet bags. Each jewel’s gleam sang out, “Congratulations! You made the wise choice and this is your reward!”
The challenging journey for the rugged climbers culminated in relief, joy and deep satisfaction. While they absorbed the wonder of the rewards all around them, they reflected on their difficult choices and the careful sacrifices they made. As they pondered, the clarity of wisdom glittered back at them. No doubt. They had invested their lives shrewdly.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:33 Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
1 Timothy 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Matthew 5:3-12 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
Matthew 13:31 He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Matthew 13:33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Matthew 13:47 Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
Matthew 18:3 And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 20:16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Colossians 2:2-4 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.