Christopher didn't want to leave. He loved this place where everyone was honest, kind, considerate, loving. There was no pride, no pretension, no secret ambitions. It was an idyllic society. But he knew that the time was drawing close for him to go back. His heart gained courage as he thought about it. His work on earth was not done – his life was not complete. He had gained a knowledge greater than any degree could give him. He felt he had a clear understanding of life and what it was all about.
They left the assembly hall and Jesus led him to another part of the city.
“I have two great gifts for you before you leave Christopher. You thought a moment ago that you had a clear understanding of life – and indeed you have gained a greater understanding. But the purpose of life has not been shared with you yet.”
Christopher now remembered that Jesus had mentioned on several occasions that the reason why we were all created was not yet revealed to him. That he was not ready yet for the responsibility of that knowledge. What could give him more insight about life than what he was already given? Was he ready? He glanced at Jesus, who as predicted, looked down at him and nodded.
Jesus looked around at the beauty surrounding them. The city that shone brightly – clean and pure. The people with their joyous smiles and countenances. After a few moments he spoke. “What is all this for? What is the point of creating worlds without number? Why are billions of spirits created, given lives full of experiences that include hardships, only to die? Why, even after death, does teaching and learning continue?”
Christopher attempted to answer, “The answers to these questions differ greatly among the religions of the world. Some say that in the end we will be put in a state where we will be the most happy – yet there is no further information about what that will be like. Some say we will be angels, neither male or female, who will worship you by playing harps and singing. Some say we'll know our families, others say we will not. I'm not sure what to believe. After seeing this city though and the priorities that people have, I feel like there is a greater purpose that I have not heard of as yet.”
Jesus said, “There is a gift available to all mankind. A gift that surpasses all understanding. One so marvelous that it is being rejected by nearly all religions as blasphemy.”
Christopher looked at Jesus, not able to understand what he was referring to. He could imagine that being given great mansions as he has seen here would be a great gift, but nobody would reject that as blasphemy.
Jesus looked at Christopher and continued. “There was a great king whose vast kingdom stretched to far off lands. The kingdom was rich with forests, fields, flocks, herds, and all manner of grains. The people were wealthy. The king was good and kind and his subjects seemed to be willing to do anything for him. One day the king sent a proclamation throughout the land that he would be allotting parts of his kingdom to all who were willing to set aside their current endeavors and come to him. He wanted all to learn what he knew, to have what he had – in a sense to become like him. The messengers were eager to take this great proclamation to the people.
But the reaction of the people was unexpected. Some were attracted by the lure of wealth and power but were not willing to set aside their lives of luxury and endure the long learning process, so they went about their lives. Many felt that the messengers were deceiving them because the king was so powerful and great that it would be disrespectful for anyone to presume they could be like him. Out of respect, they would not ask the king themselves - so their part of the gift went unclaimed.
Very few people accepted the gift and left everything to go to the king. Some had intentions that were not pure and were not willing to be like the king in every way, so they were rejected and cast out. Those who were willing to obey and cast aside their old ways were richly rewarded for their efforts. Each became heir to the kingdom and was allowed to build kingdoms of their own.”
Christopher pondered on this for a few moments, wanting to be sure he understood what he thought he heard. Of course the king in the story was God, meaning the Father and Jesus. The messengers were those who were teaching. Not just the teachers here in the spirit world, but teachers on earth, trying to help the people understand what God has in store for them. But what did he have in store for them? That they could become like God? That couldn't be right – there could be only one God. But in the story, the king was still the king – the others would still be subject to him and would always be in his debt, yet they could be kings as well. But he certainly could understand why many on earth would not accept this gift and feel that it was blasphemy to even think that such a thing was possible.
Christopher looked at Jesus who was already looking a him. “If I understand correctly, the gift you are referring to is to become like you. To have your knowledge. To have your power. To be an heir to your kingdom.”
“Yes.” Jesus answered. “This is the purpose of life Christopher. Spirits are created as the offspring of the Father, literal children of God. They are sent to earth to gain experiences, to learn, to grow, to become strong. To learn to be good, kind, forgiving, patient, peacemakers, and to judge righteously, to desire to be good. To become like me as much as possible. Those who do this are the valiant ones you see around you. They have my image in their countenance. These will be taught in all things to become like me and become joint heirs with me to all the Father has. They will be given the power to create their own kingdoms. This is the definition of Eternal Life.”
Christopher stared speechless at Jesus. He believed what Jesus had said but the reality of it was difficult to comprehend. To learn to create... worlds, universes. Indeed there could be no greater gift that God could give to his children than the knowledge and power to become like him.
They walked together in silence until Christopher was at the same place where he first appeared. It seemed like days ago, but yet he knew it had just been a few moments. Christopher reflected back on the time spent with Jesus. The truths he had learned. He recalled how proud he was when he first arrived at this spot. When Jesus first said that he could learn things here that would stretch his mind and expand his understanding, he was more than skeptical. Instead, he figured he would be the one to teach this man. He shuddered to think that he almost walked out. What he had seen and heard had changed his life, had given everything greater meaning than he thought possible. He thought his life was fulfilling – and it was, but this added a dimension that he didn't even know existed. Or at least he never let it exist before. There were plenty of colleagues who tried to get him to understand, but he wouldn't let them. Life wasn't going to be easy with this new knowledge he had gained, but he would be faithful to it. He would!
Jesus broke the long silence as they stood there looking over the bustling city – busy with the work of God. “I have one more gift for you Christopher. With this gift you will be given great power and you will be tempted to misuse it. Remain faithful. Always remember the things you have learned here. Remember me and keep my commandments and you will always have my spirit with you.”
Christopher looked at Jesus, again overwhelmed by emotion at the love he felt from Jesus.
Jesus continued, “You will be given the knowledge you seek to complete the project you have been working on these many years.”
A flood of gratitude washed over Christopher. He had tried to remain optimistic over the years with this project, but it seemed as though failure was imminent. Now words could not express his gratitude, so he remained silent – still looking into Jesus' eyes.
“Serve me well Christopher, and return with honor.”
For the last time, they embraced and the tears flowed freely.