Skip to content

Old Man Who Couldn't Let Go

Story of old man who couldn't enter the gate of heaven  until he let go of a handful of dirt.

An old man on the isle of Crete lay dying. He loved his homeland so much that he couldn't bear to part with it, even in death. In his death throes he reached down and grabbed a handful of the earth of Crete. When he arrived at the gates of Heaven, he was holding that handful of dirt. St. Peter told him he was welcome to enter, but he'd have to leave the dirt behind. He couldn't bring himself to do that, so he sat down just outside the gate.

Many years later, the old man's wife died and she, too, showed up at the gate to Heaven where she found her husband sitting there with a handful of dirt. St. Peter explained to her what was going on. Together, they worked on the old man and finally convinced him to turn loose of the handful of dirt from Crete.

Together, the old man and his wife walked through the gates of Heaven. Much to his surprise, when he went through the gate, the old man found the entire island of Crete made glorious, even more wonderful that it had been in his life or in his memory! And he remembered the words of Christ: "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life."



Author information was updated as of the article's post date. Author profiles may not reflect author's current employment or location.

Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa ( via Flickr. Used by permission.

previous main next

Stewardship 101 ebook cover

Search all stewardship resources by author, keyword or topic.

Related Articles

How do you give to the church?

How do you give to the church?

This is the second in a series based on an article that Grace and Chick have written for the ELCA's ...

What does stewardship mean to you?

What does stewardship mean to you?

Grace and I were invited to write an article for the ELCA's "Seeds for the Parish" publication. We decided ...

Devotion: Realizing How Much God Loves You

Devotion: Realizing How Much God Loves You

Luke 15:11-32
In reflecting on the breadth of God's love, what steps might you take in your life to enhance ...