Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ah Lek Sweeps the Floor

Ah Lek has heard of the holiness and wisdom of Abba Ah Beng. He wanted to be a disciple of this holy man. One day, he packed his meagre possessions and set out for the Sow Lin Monastery. Presenting himself at the door, he requested admittance because he wanted to be a disciple of Abba Ah Beng. “Wait here”, he was told by a curt doorman, “Abba Ah Beng is meditating with his Bible and must not be disturbed.” So Ah Lek waited at the front door for 3 days and 3 nights. It must be a test, he thought, as Ah Lek is a fan of Hong Kong kungfu movies. Three days later, the door opened and the doorman peered out. “You still here?” said the surprised doorman, “Oops, I forgot to tell Abba Ah Beng about you.”

Ah Lek was brought before the holy man. Abba Ah Beng was the disciple of Abba Isaac of the Great Desert Fathers of Northern Egypt. As northern Egypt is closer to Jerusalem, these desert fathers regard their tradition as holier than those who follow the tradition of Abba Tau in the southern desert. Hence the expression, ‘holier than Tau.’ “So you want to be a disciple, do you?” Abba Ah Beng spoke, staring with piercing eyes at Ah Lek because he has misplaced his spectacles again. “Our Lord Jesus taught us to wash each other’s feet so you shall start your service by sweeping the monastery floor.” It was a large monastery.

Disciple junior grade Ah Lek swept the dinning hall floors, the corridors, the main sanctuary, the altar areas, the pews, the choir stands, the prayer rooms, the many cells in which his fellows monks lived, the cloisters, the gardens, the library, the conference room, the reception rooms and Abba Ah Beng’s living quarters. He swept in winter, spring, summer and autumn. Year after year, Ah Lek faithfully swept the floor of the Sow Lin Monastery. One day, he dropped dead from exhaustion. He found himself in heaven with Jesus.

“Welcome my good and faithful servant,” Jesus greets him with a smile, “You have been faithful in serving me in small things and now you will be rewarded with greater things.” Then Jesus gave Ah Lek a bigger broom for him to sweep New Jerusalem.

What is the moral of this story?


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Blogger Paul Long said...

The things you spend time doing on earth is the preparation for the things you will spend time doing in eternity?

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... mean i'll get a bigger computer screen with a larger headache in NJ?

help mum, i need to change job...


9:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, I find it is rather true that the thing we do is the preparation for the acceptable character for heavenly kingdom.
Ah Lek has a character of blind obedience. He doesn't find a job given to low to perform. But the reward is unreasonable that a bigger broom is given to him in heaven. Of course, I don't think he will mind about that either because of his life long duty performed at Abba Ah Beng's monastery. Now about Ah Beng, he has failed his duty to guide Ah Lek for spiritual development even though he may remain to sweep the floors. So I may suggest the moral issue of this story is for an intelligent obedience for spiritual growth, an attitude of no job to small to serve and a leader being responsible to his followers.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Chicken Feet aka KaKiaYam said...

i don't quite understand the last part where the Jesus character reward him with an even bigger Broom to sweep NJ.

To me, i shall think that the moral of the story is that no job is too small or insignificant for us to perform. I say this from the fact that Jesus acknowledge Ah Lek faithfulness and says that Ah Lek is a Good servant.

Now, why would a greater reward be a bigger broom? (scratch...scratch...)
unless Jesus doublespeak...

11:13 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi Paul,

Thanks for your lesson. Direct and to the point.


big computer screen? How about a gaint plasma screen as big as a football field?

4:35 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi pek,

welcome. I enjoyed your comment an intelligent obedience for spiritual growth, an attitude of no job to small to serve and a leader being responsible to his followers.

obedience, attitude, responsibilites

important attributes we must all develop.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi kaki.ayam,

interesting ending. Why would I end my story with that statement?

Stories like these are like parables and metaphors. There are many layers and much we can learn from it if we spend time with it. Usually I would suggest a week, reading and rereading. There is no right or wrong answer. Each person will have to find the answer or answers from within (with illumination from the Holy Spirit).

4:43 PM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

No right or wrong answer!!! What?!? :-)

6:55 PM  
Blogger Chicken Feet aka KaKiaYam said...

alex, i get what you mean by no right or wrong answer.

Thanks for the story...keep it up!!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Matthews 25:23

2:48 PM  

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