A man was strolling along the beach one day when he spotted a bottle washed up on the shore. He went over and picked it up, and noticed a message in the bottle. He popped the cork out and inside was a weathered treasure map indicating that there was buried treasure to be found in the shallow waters below. But the man thought it was a hoax, so he slipped the map back in and threw the bottle back into the ocean...
A little later, another man was walking along the beach and the bottle had washed upon the shore. He too picked up the bottle, popped out the cork, and found the treasure map.
This man, however, was curious enough to wade into the water and hoped it was buried shallow enough to find. But once the cold ocean waters reached up to his thighs, he decided to quit. "This is not worth it!" he thought to himself. So he scrambled back to shore and chucked the bottle back into the ocean....
A third man was walking by the beach and noticed the bottle washed upon the shore. He went over, opened the bottle and found the map. The map looked authentic enough, and promised great treasure... So he got himself a small raft and set out into the ocean to claim the treasure..he rowed out far enough into the ocean where the "X" on the map was and to his surprise, he saw the glint of something shining in the waters below..he dove into the ocean and swam towards the shining object below..
He could see that there was something that looked like a treasure chest, but he couldn't quite reach it and the deeper he went, the greater the cold and pressure on his body and his mind..," I am about to lose my breath, and the longer i take, my raft might be swept away!", he thought. So the man decided to give up the hunt so he would ensure his own life and safety..when he reached the shore once more, he took the bottle from the raft and tossed it back into the ocean...
Finally, one more man was walking along the beach. He noticed the bottle, went over, popped it open, and was excited to find a map promising great treasure. He noticed someone had left a raft by the water's edge, so he took it and paddled out. He too, got far enough to where the "X" marks the spot, and squinted into the waters and saw the shadow and glint of the treasure below.
He took a deep breath and plunged into the waters. Like the man before him, the cold, darkness and pressure upon his senses increased as he got closer. He also realized that if he kept swimming, that he might lose his breath, the raft, and even his own life! But this treasure could be worth all the risk and he persisted. Just as he was about to give up, he grabbed the long chain that was binding the chest and pulled it up along with himself back to the surface.
He broke the surface of the water gasping and exhausted but with the treasure chest safely in his grasp. He paddled back to the shore, opened up the treasure chest and found what the map had promised--gold, and precious diamonds and jewels that would make him secure for the rest of his life.
A relationship with God is a similar treasure hunt. People hear the same message, but the way they receive it will determine the reward they might find. Eternal life is waiting for all those who are willing to take that risk to follow God all the way of life, where we find love, forgiveness and life everlasting.... for eternity.
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