Disciple Ah Lek went to the other brothers working in the field and said, “St. John said ‘Do not labour for the food which perishes’ (John 6:27) and St. Luke said ‘Mary has chosen the good portion’ (Luke 10:42).” He became such an nuisance that the disciples complained to Abba Ah Beng.
Abba Ah Beng instructed disciple Ah Kow, “Put Ah Lek in a cell with his Bible and nothing else.” Ah Lek was very happy to remain in the cool cell while his brothers worked in the hot sun. When dinner time came, Ah Lek was watching the door expectantly but no one came to call him for dinner.
After an hour, Ah Lek cannot stand his hunger so he went in search of Abba Ah Beng. Abba Ah Beng was relaxing under a Frangipani tree and a pleasant soft fragrant was in the air. He gave a satisfied burp when he saw his disciple Ah Lek.
“Has all the brothers eaten?”
“Yes we have,” replied Abba Ah Beng, “and we had chilli crabs as the main course!”
Ah Lek’s stomach convulsed at the thought of missing chilli crabs which is his favourite dish. "Why did you not call me?"
Abba Ah Beng said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.”
Realising his misinterpretation of the scripture, Ah Lek said “Forgive me, Abba, for misusing the Holy words.”
Abba Ah Beng said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised. It is because of Martha that everyone is fed. There need to be a balance of Martha and Mary in our lives.”
“Mary is the sitting at the Lord’s feet and enjoying his presence and love.”
“Martha is providing the support so that the Lord’s work may be done.”
“Neither sister is independent of one another. However, there is another in the house who loves and empowers them.”
“Who is it? Is it the Lord?” asked Ah Kow who has joined them under the Frangipani tree.
“No,” answers Abba Ah Beng. “It is Lazarus who has experienced the power of a new life. A resurrected life.”
“Ah Lek, you think we are carnal because we work for a living and you are spiritual because you spend your time in prayer and reading scripture. A true spiritual man is a perfect balance of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. There is a time for work, a time for contemplation and a time for renewal.”
“This is like the Holy Trinity; the Father , Son and Holy Spirit who are in perfect communion and harmony with one another. Theologian Rahler called it the economy of the Trinty,” continued Abba Ah Beng. Like all preachers, once get started Abba Ah Beng found it hard to stop.
“This spiritual man is dying of hunger,” Ah Lek whispered to himself.
Abba Ah Beng looked at his miserable disciple and a faint smile appeared on his face.
“Go,” he ordered Ah Lek, “I told the kitchen to keep some chilli crabs and rice warm for you.”