Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through his Stomach

Ah Kow found his friend Ah Lek, junior disciple grade three, in the Sow-lin Monastery refectory. Ah Lek was gobbling his rice greedily, shoveling large amount of rice into his mouth with his chop sticks as fast as he could.

“Woh, slow down, Ah Lek, before you choke yourself. I have never seen you so hungry. Where have you been? I did not see you at lunch and dinner.”

“Umnumu..” mumbled Ah Lek as he swallowed a mouthful of rice, “ …was away. Just came back. Abba Ah Beng sent me to deliver some sacred scrolls to Kong-San Monastery.”

“That’s almost thirty li away. Must have taken you a full day to get there and back,” said Ah Kow thoughtfully. He looked up in alarm as Ah Lek’s face began to turn red. After a hearty thumbing on his back, aided by other very enthusiastic junior disciples, Ah Lek regained his normal colour. “Fish bone,” he said by way of explanation.

“So what happened? Why are you so hungry? Didn’t you bring any food along?” Ah Kow asked, curious.

“I did. Abba Meng gave me a loaf of bread for the journey. He laughed when he gave me the bread, saying it is big enough for an appetite like mine. Like mine? Man, you should have seen him eat.”

“Anyway the weather was good so I was able to walk along the road without any trouble. It was good to leave the monastery for a while. It was about mid morning when I begin to feel hungry. As I was unwrapping the loaf of bread, Abba Ah Soong came along. You know Abba Ah Soong, from that large monastery behind the hill. I greeted him and seeing him eyeing my bread, offered him a quarter of the loaf. It never hurts to be on good terms with people like Abba Ah Soong, you know.”

“Good for you,” commented Ah Kow, “then what happened.”

“Along came that rich merchant Kong Seng with his beautiful daughter. You know the one with the big…” “Ah Sian,” interrupted Ah Kow with interest, “I know her.”
“Well, I offered them a quarter of my bread, figuring also it never hurts to make friend with a rich merchant. It can be useful for fund raising. They accepted the bread and I was about to eat when a poor skinny beggar came along. So to show them that disciples of Sow-lin do good deeds, I gave him a quarter of my bread.

I tell you, they are so impressed! Then I continued my journey, hurried off before anyone else come along and I have to share my bread! I have only a quarter left and I have a long way to go and have to come back before nightfall. I am scared there may robbers at night. I managed to reach Kong-San Monastery around midday and have to rush back because the sky had darkened and was threatening to rain.

It was in the afternoon that I stopped to rest and eat. I am so hungry. My stomach was growling so much that I can’t stand it anymore. I was about to put the bread in my mouth when I noticed an old man lying in the shade of the Jambu fruit tree. He was dirty, smelly, shrunken and frail looking. And he must be very hungry because he was looking so longing at my bread. Yet he did not beg.”

“You didn’t gave him your bread, you glutton you,” teased Ah Kow.

“I was so frustrated. Here I am, so hungry with my last piece of bread and he has to appear. No fair-lah. I feel like stuffing the bread in my mouth and just walk by, pretending I did not see him. No one will know. No one will notice.

Somehow, I just cannot do that. So I gave him that last piece of bread. He looked at me so gratefully, smiling and showing his rotten teeth. And then I…”

Ah Lek’s pause was so long that Ah Kow looked up at his friend’s face in alarm. “And then what?”

“And then I thought I saw the Lord Jesus smiling back at me,” whispered Ah Lek with a quiver in his voice.

Unconditional sacrificial giving brings a smile to God’s face

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Blogger Paul said...

Nice story. I like this one as it does reflect the condition of my heart. I give as a disciplined habit and aim to do with the the purest of motives but it does not always turn out that way :-( But when it does every now and then ... it's true - almost feel like Jesus is smiling:-)

4:15 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Paul,
I know what you mean. In some of my saner moments, I wonder how much of what I give or do serve the Lord and how much of it is for myself.

11:45 AM  

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