An old woman wished more than anything to see for herself the difference between Heaven and Hell. An angel called upon her to grant her request.
The angel put a blindfold around her eyes and said, "First you shall see Hell."
When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was standing at the entrance to a great dining hall. The hall was full of long tables, each piled high with the most delicious foods -- meats, vegetables, fruits, breads, and desserts of all kinds. The smells that reached her nose were wonderful.
The old woman noticed that there were people seated around the tables. Their bodies were thin and their faces were gaunt and creased with frustration. Each person held a spoon that was about three feet long. The spoons were long enough to reach the food on the table, but, because they were so long, they could not get the food back to their mouths no matter how hard they tried.
The old woman watched their struggle and she heard their hungry, desperate cries.
It was torture. A feast for a King was within reach yet absolutely unattainable.
"I cannot take this anymore! I've seen enough," she said. "Please let me see Heaven!"
Again, the blindfold was put around her eyes and the old woman heard, "Now you shall see Heaven."
When the blindfold was removed, the old woman was confused. There she stood again at the entrance to a great dining hall that was filled with long tables piled high with the most delicious foods. Again, she saw that there were people sitting just out of arm's reach of the food with three-foot long spoons.
But as the old woman looked closer, she noticed that the people in heaven were plump and had rosy, happy faces. As she watched, a joyous sound of laughter filled the air.
And soon the old woman was laughing, too, for now she understood the difference between Heaven and Hell for herself.
Unlike in Hell, the people in Heaven were not struggling with those long spoons to feed themselves.
Instead, the people in Heaven were using those long spoons to feed each other.
In The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel wrote that "the law of success is service."
When you serve your fellow man, you will become successful.
You win in direct relation as others win.
There is no greater secret.
Nor is there any greater gift.