Then he condemned and painted a picture of hell, with all its ugliness, torture, pain, suffering, fire. Again he challenged, “Now, who would like to go to the kingdom of God, to heaven?” All hands were raised, but that old man was still sitting without raising his hand.
The minister was puzzled. He asked that old man, “Don’t you hear me? Are you deaf? Would you not like to go to the kingdom of God, to heaven?”
The man said, “Eventually, yes. But the way you are carrying on, it seems you want to carry off a load right now. Eventually yes, but right now, no!”
If you are told, “The kingdom of God is here and now,” you are not ready. Many are the desires to be fulfilled before you can leave; many, many things have to be done before you would think of entering the kingdom of God. You are still dreaming and not ready to be awake, you need time. The priest appeals to you, but not a Buddha, not a Jesus, because Jesus talks in terms of no-time: he makes an uneasy friend. To live with Jesus is to live in constant discomfort. He doesn’t allow you the convenience of dreaming, he doesn’t allow you time, future. He says that there is no tomorrow.
Tomorrow helps in another way: as you are right now, you don’t accept yourself, you know you are not worthy. You know that even you yourself cannot accept yourself as you are. How is God going to accept you? No, it is impossible! You cannot conceive of it. You have condemned yourself so much, you are so guilty, how will God accept you? It is impossible. If the kingdom opens right now, if the door invites you, you will not be able to have that much courage to enter. You need a little time to transform yourself, you need a little time to be good, you need a little time to be a saintly man. You need a little time to do many things so that your being becomes acceptable, so that even God can love you. There are many desires, they need time. And many “shoulds” are waiting, they need time.
The whole morality of the world – forms differ, but the essential base is the same – has been condemning you: you are wrong, something has to be done; you have to be put right, you have to be polished, you have to be made worthy. So if somebody says, “The door is open right now,” you feel uncomfortable. Then you cannot enter. But if he says, “It is in the future,” then there is time enough. You are at ease, you can work it out, you will polish yourself. You can create an image, an ideal, and you will follow that ideal so some day or other you will become a saint. And this is the trick of the mind: if you can postpone, the mind remains the same; to remain the same, the mind wants to postpone. Not to change, ideals are needed; not to take the jump, time is needed so that you can postpone.
Postponing is the base of your continuing as you are. If this house is on fire you will not postpone, you will simply jump out. You will not even ask, “Where is the door? Where are the steps? From where to go?” You will not seek a teacher, a guide; you will simply jump out. Anywhere will be the door! Wherever you are, from there the journey starts. And you will not ask, “Am I really worthy to be saved? Am I worthwhile?” No, all these questions will not arise.