From Monk to Ministry (KJV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.66 x 8.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: KJV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the KJV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
His name was Jim. Orin, actually, but when he left Pennsylvania he identified himself with a form of his middle name to minimize reminders of merciless teasing from having a name that was unlike any other in his neighborhood and school. He was glad to get out of Philadelphia where he never felt that anybody really cared about anyone else. Not that he wanted to get close to anyone. He had made a vow to himself at age 15 when his mother passed, that he would never allow himself to care deeply about anybody again. This was understandable since his dad had already died of a heart attack when he was only 2½ years old. Even in parochial school he felt as though he didn’t fit in or matter. The teachers would punish him and tell him that he was ugly, and a bully would wait for him under a bridge many days and beat him up on his way home from school. His mom had often threatened to take Jim and his siblings to an orphanage when she was overcome with their fighting and disrespect. Life wasn’t turning out to be very good. To make matters worse, his mom blamed him for his dad’s death. She told him that his dad suffered the fatal heart attack running after him as he dodged into a street on that fateful day. A huge blow to any self esteem he may have had.
When his mom passed, an aunt came out of nowhere (as Jim put it) to make sure the situation at home was somewhat stable, and then disappeared just as quickly. Shortly thereafter, the older brother left home, turning to alcohol. The sister became a reclusive alcoholic and the younger brother spent his time playing guitar in his room, later turning to a life of drugs. Jim remembered his mom’s dying wish that he become a priest. Trying to make up for the trouble he had caused her and to honor her last wish, he completed his senior year of high school at the Seminary affiliated with the church they had attended as children with their mother. However, he was not prepared for the advanced academic requirements to continue further studies. Plans to fulfill his mother’s dream went up in smoke.
After a few menial jobs, a time in the military, and other disappointments, Jim was invited to work with Native American children through the auspices of his ‘religion.’ He had been renting a room, going to work, and spending every evening in bars. The beliefs with which he was brought up had no meaning. Nothing about it was personal, only memorized and repeated without true repentance or purposeful intent. He knew he was missing something very important in life, something that had eluded him no matter what he tried. In desperation he agreed to try the life of a monk in that monastery, working with the children. What did he have to lose? If God were not in the monastery, where would He be? God would honor his deepest longing.
At the monastery, something strategic took place. Jim was given the position of assistant librarian. He had always had an interest in books, so that suited him well. In his spare time one day, he took a Bible off the shelf and began reading God’s Holy Word for the first time in his life. He came upon Ephesians 2:8,9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” It was like the heaviest load imaginable was about to be lifted from his shoulders. He had been taught that the only hope for eternal life was through good works, and even then one couldn’t be certain. He asked the Abbot why their teaching differed from what the Bible says. The Abbot explained that they place as much emphasis on ‘tradition’ as they do the Bible …that God’s favor comes through ‘works’ which include praying to the saints, confessing sins to the priests, repeating the rosary and other petitions, abstaining from pleasures during lent, giving money to the church to limit a loved one’s pain in the devouring flames of purgatory, and receiving last rites at death. Jim already knew, first hand, that his works had not, and could never, satisfy the longings of his heart or atone for his sin.
Jim decided to leave the monastery, as the tension became overwhelming. Since he had no friends or family to which to return, he moved to the closest large city in the area. The Lord placed Christ followers in his life. Not having a vocational plan, he enrolled in a sales course. One of the teachers invited him to the Church where she and her family were active. There he was elated to hear the pastor preach on Ephesians 2:8,9. Salvation is by God’s grace, not our works. The pastor’s message was affirming what the Lord was revealing to him during his private Bible study!! Jim began attending group Bible studies as well as the worship services. He was persistent in seeking answers to his many questions. When invited to an informal get-together with other singles his age, he was horrified to hear that there would be no alcohol. He told the leader that he had never been to such a party but took the challenge. It was another step in a life changing from the inside out!!!
After wrestling with the claims of Christ for six months, he knew he had a decision to make. He acknowledged his need of a Savior and asked forgiveness for his sin. He asked the Lord to come into his life and take over. An indescribable peace came over him. Until that moment, he had literally been scared to death of dying. He found himself in a park and noticed many people around him. Jim wondered if some day the Lord would use him to tell people like them about this peace that they, also, could experience! He had never even heard about evangelism, but already the Lord was putting that desire into his mind and heart.
After graduating from college he entered the sales profession. He was in the highest percentile of performance for sizable companies but never felt fulfilled. There was still a longing in his life. Growing in his newly found faith and being active in the Church was not enough. The Lord showed him in a most dramatic manner that He had other plans for him. Facing surgery for a life threatening aortic aneurysm, he asked himself what he had to show for his life, thus far. His answer was ‘not very much.’ He decided to enroll in the local Seminary and prepare to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel on a full time basis, should the Lord mercifully allow his recovery.
The Lord blessed him with a great zeal for learning and study. He graduated with strong ministry skills and was on the pastoral staff in various churches. His greatest joy was sharing his personal story of how the Lord’s faithfulness brought him forgiveness and purpose. Being a true salesman, he would ask for a commitment from those with whom he was sharing. The Lord used his background and every experience in preparing him to relate to the lonely and forgotten as well as those with social and professional connections. Whether at a ball game or while waiting at an airport, he would take opportunity to tell others of the most important decision one can ever make. He could never forget the change that took place as he found new life in Jesus Christ, being saved by grace, alone.
The Lord brought him through three additional emergency surgeries. His recovery was always a mighty victory for all who knew him and prayed for him! His surgery on July 11, 2013, however, had a different outcome. He passed on to HEAVEN after two weeks in a coma. Can you imagine waking up to the embrace of Jesus, the one who loved us so much that He died to pay for our sins? And He rose again, proving that He, indeed, is God, the source of all life and hope! This is the promise for all who acknowledge their need of a Savior to forgive their sins and place their trust in Him to change them completely.
The end of the story? It will never end! Praise the Lord! Those who respond to the gift of salvation tell others, and they tell others, and on and on it goes. Won’t you respond to this gift and enjoy the never-ending privilege of telling about the One who has brought meaning, salvation and purpose to your life?
To become a child of God, you must put your trust completely in Jesus Christ. If you would like to express your desire to be saved in prayer, you can pray this prayer or one similar:
I realize that I am a sinner. I understand that You already paid the penalty for my sin when You died on the cross and that You rose again, proving that You are God. I believe that You are able to change me. Please come into my life and make me into the person You created me to be. Thank You for loving me and paying the price for my sin. Thank You for giving me hope for the rest of this life and eternal life when my time on earth is ended. Amen.
Please study these verses from Scripture:
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:8,9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith... it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
To learn more about your new found faith, find a Bible based church, study God’s Word, pray, and learn from other believers. Welcome to the family!!