The Monk and the Merchant

I received a gift in the mail a few weeks ago. And it was from an old friend who has blessed me in many ways over the years. Dave Ramsey.

Yes. I’m talking about that Dave Ramsey. No. I don’t know him personally. But he has really blessed me.

A few months ago, I was at a conference in Atlanta where I received three copies of his new book Entreleadership and three more books from him for FREE. Not only that, but several years ago, his practical wisdom based on Jesus’ truth led my family and me out of debt as a young couple. After our stupidity led us back into debt, his ministry is currently guiding us back out. I think it’s safe to say this relationship has been pretty one-sided and I’ve been on the receiving end. Thanks, Dave.

Anyway, I received a package in the mail from Dave. (Our church had led some 15 or 16 families through his Financial Peace University class. I believe this was his way of saying ‘thanks’ in addition to his ongoing investment in young leaders). He sent out a book to which he had written the forward. It is called The Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber. I’d never heard of the book before. I’d never heard of Terry Felber. I didn’t even realize that there had been a legend on which the book was based. It turns out, I had been missing out.

In the book, a grandfather is imparting wisdom in his 19-year-old grandson who is himself setting out on manhood. The younger character was preparing to make some decisions that would determine the course of his life. What would he do with his life? How would he make his living? At the center of the decision was his question whether to pursue full-time, vocational ministry or go into the market and become a merchant. The grandfather shares his own journey with the boy and passes on several nuggets of wisdom along the way.

Of all the great things I read, my main walkaway points were:

1) Do what you love. That way you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

2) Put God at the center of your pursuit, and you’ll find blessing and favor at every turn.

and 3) Trials should develop your character, not crush your spirit.

I’ll admit, these were all three lessons I had heard before, but I really needed to be reminded of them. Yes, I’m past the decision of choosing what to do with my life. But the reminder that ministry was (and IS) the passion of my heart was vital to me right now.

I feel blessed to be where I am in life. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. But I’m thankful for the subtle reminders that bring me back to an attitude of gratitude with regards to the part I get to play in this world.

I would highly recommend The Monk and the Merchant to anyone, particularly young people who are at that crossroads of deciding what vocation to pursue. It very simply lays the groundwork for making clear-headed decisions and trusting God’s leading through our passions and desires as we stay centered on Him.


About Andy Brown

I am: * A follower of Christ (a relationship I truly don't deserve) * A husband to a beautiful wife (who is waaaaaaaaaaaay out of my league) * A father of five amazing whipper-snappers (that's right, I said five. I really like my wife ;-) * A sports enthusiast (go Huskers! Royals! Chiefs!) * A man who is learning what it means to truly "live by faith." (I know what it means to fail and I'm learning that faithfulness to my Savior and living in His amazing grace are the secrets to success.)

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