The Monk and the Merchant
August 23, 2021
Filed In: Philosophy
The pictures coming out of Afghanistan are heartbreaking. We will forever remember the image of the C-17 taxiing down the runway with dozens of people hanging on, desperate to escape the evil that has descended on their homeland. It hurts not just because it was preventable, but because we feel powerless to help. Our elected leadership has failed on the world stage, and we share in the moral fallout.
Disaster and tragedy are part of the human story. Afghanistan feels personal because, while there is little that we can do about dictatorships in China, North Korea, or Cuba, this one was within our power to stave off. Every day in the World News section of the newspaper are stories of natural and human disasters. This is to say nothing of the quiet crimes against humanity that go unnoticed by the global community.
In times like these, I’m reminded of the book, The Monk & The Merchant
. It’s a short story, in the vein of those management quick-reads. The story is about a merchant who visits a monastery and wishes he could spend all of his time focused on serving God. The monk whom he meets reminds him that the lifestyle of the monk is possible because of the financial generosity of the merchant. So while the merchant may spend his day tending to his business and growing his profits, his work is holy, too. It’s the work that enables the monastery to function.
Most of us are not called to the missionary field. Most of us are not called to travel to Haiti after an earthquake, or to Kabul to save people from the shadow of a dictatorial theocracy. But we are called to help. We can make a positive difference by giving generously to charities that have the experience, capability, and manpower to make a tangible difference on the ground.
If you’re looking for a reputable group, especially one that helps Christians facing persecution and genocide in the Middle East, take a look at the Knights of Columbus Christian Relief Fund
We may not be monks, but our work as merchants is holy. Our work makes the life and charitable works of the monk possible.