father Meletie Aivazelis
Once a peasant heard the priest in the church saying that if you give alms, you get back a hundredfold from God. When he went back home, he agreed with his wife to give the only ox they had and God would give them 100 oxen for this good deed. He did not hesitate to give his ox, having complete confidence in God.
So he gave his ox and waited for the reward from God. The time passed, but the oxen didn’t come. One morning he decided to climb the neighbouring mountain to find God and ask Him when he would give him the 100 oxen, as he heard in the priest’s preach.
While climbing the mountain, he met a hermit who asked him:
„Where are you going?”
„I’m going to meet God and ask Him when he gives me the 100 oxen for my almsgiving.
„When you meet Him ask Him about me too. Tell Him that I’ve been living for 40 years in the mountain in absolute reclusion. Have I gained the kingdom of heaven?
„Of course I will”, said the peasant and continued his way.
A bit higher he met an old man with a white beard who asked him:
„Who are you looking for?”
„I’ve heard in the church that if I gave alms I would get back one hundred times more from God. And now I’m looking for Him to ask when he gives me the reward for my almsgiving.
„Go back to your house and dig under the tree from your yard. There you will find a jug full of money. Don’t say a word about it to anyone, but continue to help people and you won’t be in need of anything all your lifetime.”
„Thank you, gheronda, but I still have something else to tell you. While I was coming to find you, I met a hermit who told me to ask you if after 40 years of ascesis and spiritual endeavours he has finally got the kingdom of heaven.
„Tell him that even if he stayed 40 years more in the mountain, he would never gain the Kingdom of heaven. I’ve given him a rusk every day for 40 years and today I gave him two, one for himself and one for you, knowing that you were coming. However, he instead of giving you one kept them both for himself, without trusting Me. But you didn’t hesitate to give your ox, believing in what you heard in the church.”