Posted on January 20th, 2009 by Rabbi
So many people become lost in their search to serve the holy One, blessed be He. The service in and of itself is fairly uncomplicated. Simply put, “Serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind.” (I Chronicles 28:9)
The Innkeeper’s Reward
An officer traveled at the head of a large caravan in order to perform an important task that the king had assigned him. The sun set in the middle of their trip, and spotting an inn alongside the road, they headed directly towards it.
The innkeeper was delighted to merit the honor to host the king’s officer. He therefore tried his utmost to make his esteemed guests’ stay a pleasant one. In their honor, he arranged a table replete with various delicacies, and when they had eaten their fill, he prepared comfortable beds that would provide them with a good night’s sleep.
Upon rising in the morning, the officer asked the innkeeper how much he owed him for their stay, and the innkeeper requested a substantial sum of money.
The officer paid the full amount and thanked the innkeeper. He then took his place at the head of the caravan and continued his journey, quickly forgetting all about the inn and the innkeeper.
Several days later, he arrived at another inn, and this time as -…-ell, was showered with exceptional hospitality as the innkeeper went well beyond the call of duty. Wanting to please his guests, the innkeeper served them delicious food and beverages, and provided them with comfortable sleeping arrangements as well.
The next day, the officer approached the innkeeper and requested to pay for his stay. The innkeeper, however, would not hear of it.
“Absolutely not!” he said to the officer. “It is both a pleasure and an honor that a great individual such as yourself would choose to lodge at my inn! The honor you have accorded me will be my full compensation!”
Upon hearing the innkeeper’s heartfelt words, the officer was filled with tremendous affection for the simple man. He therefore commanded one of his servants to go and bring a particularly heavy chest from one of the wagons. Opening the chest, he removed magnificent jewelry and gems and presented them to the innkeeper.
“Here you go, my dear sir,” said the officer. “This is a small portion of the reward that you shall receive for the loyalty that you have shown me. In addition, if you ever need anything from the king, do not hesitate to turn to me!”
The officer went on his way but never forgot the innkeeper and his kindliness.
There are two types of people who serve Hashem.
There are those who serve Hashem in the hope of receiving a reward. Hashem certainly looks upon his Divine service favorably, but in the end he only receives his due reward.
But there are others who serve Hashem merely for the joy of serving King of All Kings. His reward is many times greater and brings Hashem much enjoyment.
This is what we are taught in Pirke Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) 1:3: “Be not as servants who serve the master for the sake of receiving [even a token) of reward, but rather, be like servants who serve the master not for the sake of receiving a reward”
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)