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Personal Development

The Truth About Secular Work That All Christians Should Know

3 Minute Read

You don’t have to work at a church or volunteer with a ministry to serve God. You can serve Him right where you are.

As Christians, we can fall into the trap of believing that a secular job isn’t as meaningful as a ministerial one. Not true. God has given each of us individual gifts and talents to use for His glory. That can mean caring for patients in a hospital, typing code for a Silicon Valley start-up, or making jewelry to sell on Etsy.

God owns the whole world—not just the churches.

This powerful message runs throughout Terry Felber’s classic The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant. It impacted Dave Ramsey so much that he buys a copy for each new team member to read in their first 90 days.

Related: 7 Books That Will Change the Way You Think About Work and Life

The book begins with Julio and his grandfather, Antonio, on their way to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome during the Italian Renaissance. When they arrive at their destination, Julio learns all about the choice his grandfather had to make between the church and the marketplace.

Both, Antonio says, can be a calling.

"Your vocation is your calling. It’s the thing that you were born to do. And when you do it, it’s not really work at all," Antonio says. "When a person discovers his vocation, he does it gladly and with joy."

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"Your vocation is your calling."

Over the course of the story, Antonio shares more and more insights from his merchant career. Most notably, he teaches Julio the 12 guiding principles he continues to live by, like these:

  • Principle Four: Trials develop your character, preparing you for increased blessings.
  • Principle Five: Take responsibility for problems that are the result of your own bad decisions. Don’t displace the blame.
  • Principle Six: See challenges as stepping-stones, not as obstacles.
  • Principle Eight: Live debt-free and below your means.
  • Principle Nine: Always keep to your budget.
  • Principle Eleven: Set aside the first 10% to honor God.

Antonio also explains that earning a profit isn’t evil. Because he worked hard and prospered, he was able to do something incredible with his money. It’s a powerful ending to a powerful book—one that we won’t give away here.

The point is that no matter what you’re doing, do it for God. He owns everything. Use the calling He’s put inside you however you want. As long as you’re honoring Him with your excellence, you’re doing it right.

Read more about how your vocation is your calling in The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant today.