One night I dreamed I was standing with Jesus in front of a beautiful museum in heaven.
“Let’s go inside,” said Jesus. “I want to show you something.”
Adorning the walls were paintings, all masterpieces. Jesus explained that each one represents one human life. Every painting in the museum was abounding with love, grace, peace and passion. I was overwhelmed with joy as I gazed at each one. They all moved me deeply and I was aware of everything lacking in my life.
I asked Jesus, “Who could paint such things of beauty? Did you or the angels make these? Surely, no human could create such perfection.”
Jesus smiled, “These were all created by God’s children.”
“But how?” I asked. “It just isn’t possible.”
“With God’s help, anything is possible,” said Jesus. “Ordinary people who submitted their will to me created them. Whenever a heart is truly given to me in every way, that person’s life will become a masterpiece. Pride, selfishness, fear, greed, doubt, and unbelief will corrupt their painting. But someone who loves me with all of his or her spirit, mind and body will live a life worthy of display.”
We walked around the gallery admiring all the lives portrayed. After a while, Jesus said that was all there was to see here.
But I protested, “Surely there is more to see Lord. For you’ve shown me only a few.”
Jesus said, “Yes, there is more.”
He led me to the back of the museum and out into a massive warehouse. Stacked on pallets and laying in heaps on the floor were millions of paintings. I looked at a few and was disappointed. They were so poorly done. Some were torn, some were patched, and still others lay unfinished.
“What is this Lord?” I asked. “Surely these don’t belong here?”
“Yes my son, they do,” said Jesus. “For each one represents a precious life in progress.”
“But they are such pitiful paintings. Hardly worthy of a museum like this,” I argued.
“Yes, you are correct they are not worthy,” explained Jesus. “But my Father is very patient. Each person’s life has a chance to become a masterpiece. All these people as long as they live, can still see their life displayed in heaven’s art gallery.”
“How can this be?” I asked. “Surely not through their own efforts.”
“No, they will never do it on their own. They need only ask me and I will help,” said Jesus.
I timidly asked, “What will happen if they never ask?”
We walked to the very back of the warehouse and Jesus opened the doors. Off in the distance I saw stacks and stacks of paintings burning in massive piles. I turned to Jesus and there were tears on his cheek.
“All these tried it on their own. Actors & athletes, businessmen & butchers, executives & educators, preachers & politicians, moms & dads, rich & poor, foolish & wise – they are all here. As long as people keep trying under their own strength they will never be good enough. And their canvas will be thrown into the fire – never to be admired. What a terrible waste,” sighed Jesus.
I wept with him. It was such a tragic site.
Jesus closed the doors and we walked back into the warehouse.
I asked, “Lord is there hope for me?”
Jesus smiled, “Yes! Follow me.”
We walked into a small room that was empty except for a blank canvas sitting on an easel.
“What is this?” I asked.
“This canvas represents your life after it has been washed cleaned with my blood,” said Jesus.
I marveled at how beautiful it was. There was not one blemish or imperfection anywhere on my canvas. Jesus handed me a brush and paint.
“Make it whatever you wish,” said Jesus
I stood there for several minutes imagining all the things I could paint. I soon realized that I could do nothing that would ever be good enough for heaven’s art gallery.
“Lord, I want to create a masterpiece, but I just can’t.”
Disappointed, I handed the brush back to Jesus, but he stopped me. Wrapping his hand around the brush in my hand and putting his arm around me he said,
“Let’s make it together.”