"A monk was seeking salvation in the wilderness. He continually read his prayers and even got up twice a night to do so. A peasant used to bring him food. The monk started to wonder whether his way of life was holy enough, so he went to the saintly elder monk for guidance. He told the elder monk about his life, his way of praying, the words of his prayers, his getting up at night to pray, and his being fed by charitable offerings. He asked whether he was living right.

" 'All this is fine,' said the elder monk, 'but go and see how the peasant who feeds you lives. Maybe you can learn something from him.'

"The monk visited the peasant and spent a day and night with him. The peasant got up early and said only, 'Lord.' He went to work and plowed the fields the whole day. At night he came home and again said, 'Lord.' Then he lay down to sleep. The monk thought, 'There is nothing I can learn here,' and wondered why the elder monk had sent him to the peasant.

"He returned to the elder monk and told him, 'The peasant hardly thinks about God — he mentions Him only twice a day.'

"So the elder monk told him, 'Take this cup full of oil and walk around the village and come back here without spilling a drop.' The monk did what he was told. When he returned, the elder monk asked him, 'How many times did you think about God while you were carrying the cup?' The monk admitted that he did not think about God even once. He said, 'I only thought about not spilling the oil.'

"The elder monk said, 'That little cup of oil kept you so preoccupied that you did not remember God even once. But the peasant fed himself, his family, and you with his labor and care and still remembered God twice a day.' "