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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

6- A Friend for Eternity


This is the story of a famous leader named Joshua who had 80 disciples. All of them became good leaders.

Once, Joshua lifted up his heart and asked God about what He had prepared for him in eternity. In a dream, Joshua heard a voice telling him, You and Nenes will be with me in Paradise and both of you will receive the same reward.

Joshua woke up upset, wondering how he could dedicate his whole life to the ministry of God and still get the same reward as a butcher who had not fully dedicated his life to God. He called his 80 disciples to him and said to them, Until I find this Nenes, I will neither teach you nor discuss with anyone any religious matter. Image: Butcher صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: جزار Image: Butcher, painting.

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة جزار.

They began to search everywhere for this Nenes until they discovered that there was a very poor man named Nenes living in an extremely poor village. Joshua went to the nearest city to the village. The entire multitude gathered with him and he asked them about Nenes the butcher. Why do you ask about this rustic and unknown man? He is nothing, they replied.

When they went to bring Nenes, he said to them, I think you misunderstood the Joshuas message. I am not the man. Who am I to be called for by the enlightened teacher and Rabbi Joshua who filled Israel with his teachings?

At the end, he refused to go with them.

Joshua determined to meet him and when he heard that Nenes refused to come with them, Joshua decided to go to him. As Joshua drew near the house, Nenes saw him and hastily said to him, Why do you want to see me, O crown of Israel?

I just want to know one thing, what kind of goodness do you do in your life? Joshua asked.

I dont do anything extraordinary, Nenes replied.

However, Joshua insisted to find out the details of his life.

I lead a normal life, said Nenes, I have my old, sick parents living here with me. I wash their feet and hands and dress them. I do this work joyfully and that I have the desire to serve them and give them all that they need.

When Joshua heard this, he bowed down before him. He kissed his forehead and said to him, O blessed son Nenes, blessed are your deeds and your life. How happy am I to be in your company in paradise!

This simple story may reflect how heaven weighs the deeds of people. The calculation of heaven is different from that of this world. God wants us to be engaged in practical love. It is not the rank, the position, or the religious order that counts. None of them are nearly as important for our salvation as are honesty and love to Him.

→ English translation of the story here at الرفيق الأبدي.