Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
A poor barefooted brother once presented himself at the gate of a convent, and finding all the monks at work, gravely shook his head and remarked to the abbot, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth." "Mary hath chosen that good part." "Very well," said the abbot, with undisturbed composure, and ordered the devout stranger to a cell, and gave him a book of prayers to occupy his time. The monk retired, and sat hour after hour, until day had passed, wondering that no one offered him the slightest refreshment. Hungry and wearied out, he left his cell and repaired to the abbot. "Father," said he, "do not the brethren eat to-day?" "Oh, yes," returned the other, with a quiet smile playing over his aged face, "they have eaten plentifully." "Then, bow is it, Father, that you did not call me to partake with them?" "For the simple reason," said the abbot, "that you are a spiritual man, and have no need of carnal food. For our part, we are obliged to eat, and on that account we work; but you, brother, who have chosen 'the good part,' you sit and read all the day long, and are above the want of 'the meat that perisheth.'" "Pardon me, Father." said the mortified and confounded stranger, "I perceive my mistake."
(J. N. Norton, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;