What is the most important thing?

March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jesus’ words to his disciples in Luke 12:22-31 not to worry about your life but always to first seek God’s kingdom reminds me of a story by Leo Tolstoy.  In this story an emperor goes in search of the answer to what he felt were life’s most important questions:  What is the best time to do each thing?  Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?  The emperor’s search ultimately takes him to an old hermit who lives high on a mountain and who was known to be an enlightened man.  The hermit didn’t answer the emperor’s questions immediately, though, instead he asked for his help in digging a garden outside of his hut because the earth was hard and he was an old hermit.  Then, while the emperor was helping the old hermit with his garden, a man suddenly runs up to them with a life-threatening wound.  So the emperor attends to the man and his wound and saves his life.  After all of this, it is very late and the emperor decides to go home thinking that the hermit does not have the answers to his questions.  But then the hermit surprises him by saying, “But your questions have already been answered.  The most important time is now, he said.  The most important person is the person you are with.  And the most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy…for that is the pursuit of life.”

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