A king wished to build a magnificent palace for himself, the likes of which had never before been seen. The king’s officers therefore hired a world-renowned architect who was known to be an expert in his field.
The architect was brought before the king and, a short time later, presented him an wonderful blueprint for a palace that would be both enormous and awe-inspiring.
The blueprint found favor in the eyes of the king, and he gave orders to begin construction at once. He had but one request to make of the architect, he wanted that the palace to be completed on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne. He would then stage a great celebration to dedicate the new palace.
The builders worked hard and spent much effort on each and every detail. When finished, a magnificent new palace, whose beauty was unmatched by any other building, stood completed one month before the king’s deadline.
In order to paint the palace walls, the king hired four master painters. Each one was assigned one wall and was instructed to paint it with vibrant and cheerful colors.
Three out of the four painters began working immediately. They mixed colors together and covered the walls with many shapes and patterns. One of the painters, however, sat idly by and did not begin painting.
“Why have you not begun working?” asked one of the painters. “If you do not start now, you will be unable to finish in time!”
“Don’t worry,” responded the painter. “I will have plenty of time to finish.”
Nearly one month later, the three painters had produced walls of sheer beauty; a fantastic collection of colors blended pleasantly into matching patterns that were amazing to behold. The fourth wall, however, stood embarrassingly empty of any color or magnificence whatsoever.
One day before the king’s anniversary, the painter went to the palace and hung large mirrors on the fourth wall that reflected the other three walls. Now the fourth wall appeared to be painted as well, and it looked quite splendid.
When the king entered the palace and beheld its sheer beauty, he was ecstatic. Wishing to show his appreciation for his workers’ efforts, the king ordered his servants to bring in three bags filled with gold coins and jewelry.
He then instructed them to hang the bags on the three painted walls.
“Here you go,” said the king to the painters. “Your reward is hanging on the wall that you painted.”
“But what about my reward?” asked the clever fourth painter. “Your reward,” answered the king, “is reflected in the mirror that you hung on the wall…”
The lesson that this parable imparts to us is clear – the reward is in proportion to the exertion (Pirkei Avos 5:26)
Vote on this post on Jblog