The Persian King Cyrus, who conquered Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon and set the Jewish prisoners free, spent much energy beautifying Persia. According to the famous Baptist preacher of the 19th Century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a visitor once commented on the beauty of his gardens. He said that just visiting Cyrus and seeing his wonderful garden gave him much pleasure. Cyrus is said to have responded, “Ah, but you haven’t near the pleasure in this garden that I have, sir. You see, I’ve planted every tree in it myself. I’ve cared for it, I’ve invested much effort and work in this garden and it’s a true joy for me to glory in the results.”

As he was well known to do, Spurgeon then commented, “One reason some saints will have a greater fullness of heaven than others will be that they did more for heaven than others. By God’s grace they were enabled to bring more souls there.” Commenting on this quote, R.W. DeHaan, said, “Those words should cause all of us who know the Lord to do some serious thinking. How many people will be in heaven because of us? Our desire should be that when we reach our eternal home, some will say to us, “I’m so thankful for you. It was your testimony, your life, your invitation to accept Christ that accounts for my being here today.”

When Paul talked of the rewards he expected to receive when the Lord returned, he expressly addressed a “crown of rejoicing.” He writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” As Cyrus found greater pleasure in the garden because of what was there because of his own efforts, so too did Paul expect to find greater Joy at the Lord’s return simply because the Thessalonians were going to be there because of his missionary work in that city. R.W. DeHaan concludes his comments by saying, “Yes, heaven’s joys will be the fullest for those who have helped lead others to Christ.” When you’ve planted, watered, fertilized or nurtured others in their spiritual development, coming to Christ or growing in Christ, you’ve invested in heaven. Jesus once said, (Matthew 6:19-20) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Investing in the spiritual lives of others is truly the best way to lay up treasures in heaven and will result in the “crown of rejoicing.”