A poor man once came to the Bach and told him he had just lost his job. He then
asked the Bach for help in approaching a certain rich man, a prize student of the Bach. The poor man told the Bach that there was a certain nobleman who was friends with the rich man. If the rich man put in a good word for him, then the nobleman would help get him a job.
The Bach agreed to the poor man's request and wrote a letter to the rich man, directing him to immediately approach the nobleman on behalf of the poor man. So the poor man went to see the rich man who told him, "I shall be overjoyed to help you get a job with this nobleman. However, as it so happens, I am leaving tomorrow for the Messe, the Fair, in Leipzig. I shall be away for three months. But I promise you, that as soon as I get back to Crakow, I'll go see the nobleman on your behalf."
The poor man pleaded with that the rich man do him this favor immediately and postpone his trip to Leipzig. "In three months, I, my wife and all my children will be dead of hunger, G-d forbid." But the rich man told him he was sorry, and left for Leipzig.
Fortunately, the poor man and his family managed to survive for the next three months. But, true to his promise, on his return, the rich man did get him a job.
Three months later, the rich man became ill suddenly and the Bach came to his bedside with a request, Swear to me you'll do me a favor. "Wherever you may be on Friday night, please come to me and tell me what's going on." So the rich man swore to keep this promise to the Bach and passed away. That Friday night, the rich man came to him with the following story. "When I stood before the heavenly court, they ruled that since most of my life I was a good man, I merited heaven. As I was entering heaven, suddenly a dark angel appeared out of nowhere and stood in the doorway blocking my entrance. The dark angel then grabbed me and brought me back to the heavenly court. This is what the dark angel told the court. "I am the angel that was created when this man delayed doing the poor man a favor for three months. I am not asking that this man go to hell, because he never did anything bad. But such a man does not deserve to be in heaven. If you can leave someone to starve for three months, you are not deserving of heaven."
"So," said the rich man to the Bach, "I stand before you now in limbo, neither in heaven or hell." In tears, the rich man pleaded to the Bach for help. So the Bach said, "You delayed in helping the poor man. It is too late to undo that. But I can try to help you a little bit. I shall tell everyone in your name never to delay doing someone else a favor. I shall leave word in my will that my children and grandchildren shall forever tell over your story. Every time they tell this story, and every time someone doesn't delay doing someone else a favor because they heard your story, you will get one step closer to heaven."