The old wise pilgrim woman was fond of saying that the Good Lord gives the gift of salvation to whomever He will, but it is we who will determine our rewards; she would tell this story to illustrate her point.
Mr. Elliott died and went to stand before the Eternal Judge of all men's souls. He was led by the angels to a chamber where many were waiting to receive their rewards for acts done in their earthly lives. The huge chamber was filled with all kinds of noise. The noise was coming from the front of the crowd. Going forward he was able to see what the noise was. It seemed that each person was to stand before a large silver cauldron which hung over a white-hot blazing fire; as the man or woman stood before the cauldron an angel would call from the four winds all the words the person ever said in their earthly lives.
Mr. Elliott watched as a person ahead stood in front of the cauldron. The angel called for the words of his lifetime to come and fill the shiny kettle. The air was filled with mutterings and whisperings and sounds as his words filled the cauldron. The fire blazed whiter than a fire ever could and the words frothed and foamed in the pot until they became a gray sludge. The sludge bubbled down until at the bottom of the kettle was the essence of all the man said.
The Angel tipped the cauldron over and spilled out the sum of his lifetime of words. The gray sludge splattered onto the ground and the word "me" stood up to shout over and over "me, me, me," The slimy word became hundreds and thousands. They covered the man and pulled him down a gutter to disappear into a dark drain leading to the lower places of eternity.
The next man stood before the cauldron and the Angel called forth all the words he spoke in his lifetime. The words rushed from far places and filled the chamber with sighs. They sizzled and frothed in the kettle until they were boiled down to the one word that was the heart and core of all the words he ever spoke. The angel tipped the huge pot over and the black sludge poured out onto the ground and the word "Mine" declared itself. The word shouted over and over, "Mine, mine, mine!" soon thousands of words clung to the man. They forced him down the gutter into the drain.
Next, a woman came to stand before the kettle and her words were called from the four winds, they came with roaring and filled the cauldron. The boiled sludge was reduced to the truest essential of all she ever said in her life. The Angel tipped over the kettle and black sludge poured onto the ground. The word that summed up all she ever said was "Hate. hate, hate." The word hate became thousands and clung to her and dragged her away to the lower rewards against her will.
A small and frail looking man stood weakly before the kettle. All the words he spoke in his life were called from the four winds. As they came from distant places they brought music with them. The cauldron barely received the words before they began to send up clouds, the clouds seemed to sing over and over the words of his life. The words said, "Kindness, grace, love, and forgiveness." The angels bowed as the words lifted him upwards to the place of blessing and rewards.
"But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36
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