Freddy, a pious, old man who worked on the land, used to go around always repeating the same expression: “It is easy for one who loves God to do good and avoid evil.” But he had a servant who was very impulsive and often would be heard using bad and vulgar words. Freddy had told him repeatedly to control his temper for the love of God, but the servant would always reply: “It is impossible because both men and animals are always giving me trouble.”
One morning, Freddy said to his servant: “Matthew, do you see this golden coin? It will be yours, if you will be patient all day and do not let a bad word escape you.” The servant was pleased with the idea and accepted the challenge willings.
The other servants, however, secretly agreed to make it impossible and all they did throughout the day had one purpose in view, that is, to make Matthew angry. But the servant resisted and did not say a word out of place.
In the evening, Freddy gave him the promised coin, but at the same time, he said: “You ought to be ashamed to yourself. For the love of a miserable coin you have controlled your temper all day, but for God you are not capable of keeping your temper even for five minutes!”
Matthew understood the lesson and little by little came to be much more amiable.
“I do not serve you, Lord, for gain.
That was the hireling’s way –
Love does not wait with outstretched hands
For payment day by day.”