Early in the morning, as the sun began to rise, the traveler left his village. Later in the day he came to another village. He carried no money and had to beg for a place to sleep and food to eat.
The first house he passed on the edge of the village was so small that the man passed it by, thinking those who lived there were too poor to show hospitality to a stranger. He would go to a larger house where the people would be better able to keep him. No one was at home at the next few houses.
Finally, he found a large mansion and he could see it belonged to the richest people in the village. Hopefully, he knocked at the door. At first there was no answer; then a harsh voice called out: “Who comes knocking on our door at this time of the day?”
The man answered softly: “A traveler who begs a corner by your stove for the night because I have no money.”
The woman of the house answered: “You can go elsewhere, then. We have no room for beggars. Move on! Go away, or we will set the dogs after you!”
As the sun was beginning to set, the man went back to the plain, small house at the edge of the village. He knocked, and a kindly looking woman opened the door. The man spoke: “I am a traveler who begs a corner by your stove for the night because I have no money.”
At once the woman and her husband asked him in, sat him down at their table and joyfully shared their humble meal with him. When it was time to go to bed they gave him their only bed. The couple slept on a straw mat by the stove. (They could not let their guest sleep on the floor.) In the morning the man wished to pay for his bed and meals. Having no money to give them, he offered the woman the ring he wore on his finger. But she refused. So, instead, he gave her a feather from his hat and explained that it would bring success to the first work she began that day.
The woman took the feather and thanked him. Then she turned to her work. Her first job that morning was to measure the linen cloth she had woven the day before. She measured and measured, and to her surprise there was so much linen that it took her three whole days to measure it all. By that time there was enough linen to last her family for the rest of their lives.
She told her friends about the traveler and his amazing feather. Soon everyone in the village heard of her blessing. The rich neighbour regretted that had turned away the traveler. She made up her mind that she would give a different answer to the man if he ever came her way again.
A year or two passed and the man came through the village again. Once again he went to the big house to ask for a place to spend the night. This time the woman received him with smiles, offering him a feast with the best food in the house and the finest bed to sleep on. Only the best would do for the traveler.
In the morning the man wished to pay for the kindness, but she refused his offer of the ring. Then he gave her a feather from his hat, as he had done to the poor woman, saying: “This will bring success to the first job you do today.”
Because she was a greedy woman she had been waiting for this very gift. Before going to bed the woman had set out a purse of gold coins on the table. She was all ready to count her money for three days! However, as she shut the door, the feather tickled her nose and she sneezed. Without thinking, she ran to get a handkerchief. And for three whole days she could do nothing but sneeze, run for her handkerchief, and sneeze again. Not till the three days were over could she stop sneezing even long enough to put away the purse of gold!
Dear friend, both of these two women did a good deed. One received a pleasant reward. The other an unpleasant one. Why? What was the difference between the deeds? Both gave food to the beggar. Both gave him a bed to sleep in. Did not the rich woman give the traveler a larger meal and a better bed to sleep in?
The first woman did good because it was the right thing to do. The other woman did her good deed in hope of reward.
Why do you do your good deeds? Do you hope to receive a gift from someone? Do you hope by doing good deeds that you will be rewarded with paradise? No one will gain paradise by good deeds. As the great prophet Isaiah wrote: “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.”1 God wants people to have a change of heart.
However, let us give praise to God because He is able to change us. Seek Him that He may free you from your sins. As the great prophet, King David (Arabic, Dawud), prayed: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”2
The prophets told of a great Saviour whom God would send to save the people from their sins.3 The Saviour would be “pierced for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. ”4 “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” is God’s promise.5
The Saviour the prophets describe is the Messiah. The Injil of Jesus shows how the prophecies were fulfilled in the person of Jesus the Messiah.
Come to the Messiah, my friend. Learn how He, the sinless One, lived. Learn how He suffered, died and rose from the dead for all sinners – for you, for me and for all people.
God’s love can change you. As His love enters into your heart, you will learn a new reason to do good deeds. You will learn to be good to yourself in a healthy way. You will learn how to serve your family, your neighbours, your community and your country. You will even learn to replace anger and hate for your enemy with peace and love. Truly, you will serve God as God wishes you to serve Him.
Come to the Messiah. to learn what great things God can do for you and through you for others. Indeed, God is great!
Would you like to know more about God and His will for your life? Write to us if you would like to study a free Bible correspondence course.