The Lord took me to a place that was barren and cold and gave me a bag of blankets and clothes.
I met a poor and naken man, freezing in the cold. The Lord told me to give the to the man from my bag. I offered him some warm blankets and clothes to keep him warm in the cold. He refused to accept them, telling me that there is no God and that I am deluded. He also said that he would not accept because he did not want to be indebted to anyone. The man eventually froze to death in spite of all my efforts to provide him with blankets and clothes.
Later, I met another man who was naked, poor, and freezing. I offered to him from my bag of blankets and clothes. The man refused because he said he was unworthy to receive any such gift from me or God. He told me that he was a sinner and his suffering was just. He eventually froze to death in spite of all my efforts to provide him with blankets and clothes.
After that, I met a third poor, naked, and freezing man. I offered him some blankets and clothes from my bag. He received them with joy, and I was filled with joy that at last someone received my offer. He praised God for the blankets and the clothes, but he never put on the clothes and he never wrapped himself in a blanket. He just set them aside and preached with sincere gratitude that God had met his need while remaining naked in the cold. He eventually froze to death in spite of receiving the blankets and the clothes.
Finally, I met a fourth man. He was, like all the others, naked, poor, and freezing. I offered him blankets and clothes. He received them with joy and dressed himself in the warm clothes and wrappen himself in warm blankets. He not only lived, but he also decided to walk with me and help me hand out clothes and blankets to others.
The Lord said to me: “Did the last man receive more grace than the other men? Did the first three men who died receive less grace than the man who lived?”
I said: “No, Lord. They each received the same grace.”
“Then why did three die and one live?” the Lord ask.
“Two died because they would not accept your grace. One died because even though he accepted your grace, he put it aside and never used it or relied on it for his life. He ended up the same as those who refused your grace even though he accepted it.”
“Why did the last man live?”
“Because he not only accepted your grace, O Lord, he put it into actiona and relied on it. Because he relied on it and used it, he lived where others died.”
“Go and do likewise,” the Lord replied.