The world’s richest man is dying. He has made peace with that.
But what is bothering him so much is that no one in the afterlife will even know that he has amassed such a colossal personal fortune.
On Earth, everyone knows he’s a self-made man who built this huge fortune from scratch, but he can’t take it with him.
Not that he could spend it, of course, but just to SHOW everyone what a great success the poor boy had become.
He broods over this so much that his guardian angel is worried. One night the angel flies to Heaven to consult Jesus. Jesus says
“Well, you know earthly wealth has no place here”
The angel replies
“I know Lord, but he’s been such a good man. He was a selfless man on so many counts, he did so much for charity, ran his business humanely and all. He’s only human.
He can’t help having this little quirk. Isn’t there something we can do to ease his mind?”
Jesus thinks a moment.
“All right. Let’s look him up in the Book of Life”
The Book is like a film of this man’s life and seeing his struggles and accomplishments, Jesus is moved to tears.
He tells the guardian angel
“Find a discreet way to tell him that I will allow him to bring one suitcase – only one, mind you! And he can fill it with whatever wealth he chooses.
At the moment of his death his suitcase and its contents will be brought to heaven with him.”
The angel goes down and delivers the message to the dying richest man.
The guy is happy, but what should he bring? He can’t settle down on only one thing.
Our money would mean nothing to people from another time, jewels could be faked, stocks and bonds could not be traded so they’d be just paper.
Finally it dawns on him: gold! Gold has been valued throughout history and never got out of fashion.
He sends out for the biggest suitcase he can find, fills it with gold bars, and sets it beside his deathbed.
Now he can die in peace, and he does shortly after.
True to the promise he arrives at the Pearly Gates, suitcase in hand. St Peter greets him warmly and says
“All right. Let’s see what was so important to you that eternal life and bliss wasn’t enough”
The man proudly opens the suitcase, stuffed with row after row of little gold bars.
St Peter stares at it, puzzled, and sighs in utter disbelief:
“But… why did you bring pavement?”