Allegory of the Long Spoons (how to make heaven on earth)

Have you heard of the parable of the long spoons? It goes something like this:


A man was once taken on a tour of hell and was surprised by what he saw: All hell’s inhabitants sat at long tables in a dining room, spoons in their hands, the best smelling and best looking food to have ever graced a dining room filled the air with an exquisite aroma.

But all the diners’ arms were tied to slats of wood that kept their arms extended. In this position, the poor souls were unable to bend the spoons to their mouths.

Hell was filled with the hungry, tortured by the fact that they were so close to the most amazing food imaginable and yet could not eat it.


Then the man visited heaven and found the same scenario. Long tables, hungry souls, strapped arms, unable to bend their hands to their mouths to eat.

But there was a profound difference.

The souls in heaven sat across from each other, not trying to feed themselves, but trying to feed the person sitting across from them.

Extending Heaven

You see, the difference between heaven and hell, it might be said, is that the inhabitants of hell are concerned only for themselves. Heaven, on the other hand, is populated with people who spend their time serving each other.

We can likewise make our lives here on earth an extension of heaven or a reflection of hell. The difference between the two just may be our willingness to forget ourselves long enough to turn our attention outward to those whose stomachs, hearts or souls hunger to be fed.

Is the spoon of your compassion long enough to reach all the way into the lives of the hungry, lonely and lost? If so, you’re on your way to making a heaven on earth.