An unbeliever once met a very poor hermit monk.
And the unbeliever said to monk:
– Elder, I admire the great sacrifice you make as a monk and a hermit! You sacrifice your whole life to God, which is doubtful whether He exists or does not exist…
The monk smiled and said to him:
– I too, my child, admire your sacrifice, which is much greater than mine!…
– How can this be possible; the unbeliever said in disbelief. What sacrifice do I make that is greater than yours?
– I, my child, sacrifice this temporary life, to gain the eternal one. While you sacrifice eternal life, to enjoy the temporary. So, which of us makes the greatest sacrifice?
The unbeliever was troubled. He thought: and if indeed one in a thousand, there is another life, what will I become?
This caused him to start thinking about life’s choices and little by little with the discreet guidance of the monk, he changed his way of life and repented.
Elder Ephraim of St. Andrew Skete
Translated by Dr. Nick Stergiou
The unbeliever and the monk