Did you work in my field?
One day Abba Isaiah went to a field where the harvest had just ended, and the owner was paying the workers for their labor.
Among the workers there were also a few monks, as was common in those days because of their poverty.
The time came to pay the monks who had worked, and Elder Isaiah went up alongside them.
When his turn came, the landowner didn’t give him anything, but asked him sternly:
– Father, did you work in my field?
– Well, then, how can you expect to be paid?
– So, if someone doesn’t work he is not entitled to payment?
– Not at all, that’s correct!
Some who stood there laughed at how dense the monk was, while others were scandalized. Then a couple of monks were so bold as to admonish Father Isaiah:
– What do you think you are doing? Why did you do that? Don’t you know that you have no right to be paid?
The Elder answered sternly:
– I knew it, and very well indeed! I did it for you! Because I see that while for material things you know well that whoever doesn’t work has no right to be paid, yet for acquiring the spiritual things, such as the virtues of sympathy and kindness toward our fellow man, love and compassion for the sick, and drawing near to Christ, you expect to be paid in Heaven for work you have not done on earth!
So the monks understood the lesson and were edified by Abba Isaiah.