By Monte Myrick
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations at work and at home dealing with confusion or frustration. We wonder what is important to God. We ask Him “What do you have for me?” Sometimes we have to deal with health, family or relationship issues. Sometimes we call out “What does the Lord have for me?” or “What is this situation supposed to mean?” We ask the Lord: “What is important to you?”
A verse that is very helpful and the centerpiece of my brief remarks is 3 John 2. The Lord tells us in this verse what he has in mind for us and what is important for each of us. 3 John 2 says “Beloved, I wish above all else that you would prosper in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” My Bible has “even as your soul prospers” highlighted. What are things that we can do that will help our souls prosper? What this message says to us is that the circumstances of our life, the dimensions of our life tend to come up to the level of our soul. So, the stronger and more vibrant our souls are, the stronger the other dimensions of our life will be. The spiritual, relational and financial dimensions of our life become stronger as our souls become stronger. What can we do to help our souls prosper? There are many things we can do but time will only allow me to share one.
I am very comfortable being among the Christian business community. I have spent a great deal of time working with Christian businessmen. My father was a Christian businessman; he raised a Christian businessman. I have been influenced, taught, encouraged, prayed for, and lifted up by Christian businessmen my whole life until this very day. In the most recent past my exposure and experience has been with this IFCB fellowship. My testimony is really about the great vision, value and verity that have come from IFCB. What a profound impact this organization has had on my life.
My father began as a Christian businessman. He was born in 1909. In 1929 (which was not a good year) my father went to college on a football scholarship. That was the first act of God’s grace that he remembered in his life. My father would have never been able to go to college unless it was with a scholarship. His family had nothing. My grandfather was a man of very modest means. When my father got out of college he bought a theater and went into the theater business. He said it was a dollar down and a dollar a month. One day he went down to the train station to pick up the first movie he got for his theater. However, he did not have the money to pay for it. So, he talked the depot agent into letting him have the movie anyway. He played the movie that night and took the box office receipts and paid for the movie the next day. That is how my father began his modest business. He was continually impressed and amazed with the things the Lord did in his life. I remember him talking about the early years and how difficult and painful they were. It seemed like his dream was going to perish. But somehow God always made a way.
My father became a very successful in the theater business. He owned a theater organization that did business in 33 states. Eventually he was elected president of the National Theater Owners Association. During his term in office he spent most of his time in Hollywood. He worked with distributors, agents and business people moving movies from Hollywood out into the marketplace to individual theaters. He negotiated contacts. He made it a smooth process for the independent theater owners to get the movies out in the marketplace and the money back to Hollywood. He took care of the details. This was the peak of his career and he loved every moment of it.
Toward the end of his life he had a stroke. It was not a good situation. At the time my brother was in medical school. So, my brother had him moved to the University hospital. It was my brother’s hope to get my father well. However, the last chapter of the story is that after a couple of months the doctors gathered our family together to tell us he was not going to make it. The blessing is that we had our last few moments together. He wasn’t killed in a car crash. We had an opportunity to talk to him. We tried to interpret that as a blessing. The last conversation I had with my father before he slipped away was about the highlights over his career and the different roles that he played. He talked for 30 minutes with a very quiet and weak voice. He talked about his role as a husband and that he was married to the same woman for 46 years.
He talked about his children and that he was a Christian businessman. I asked him about the memorable and exciting things that he remembered in his business life. He didn’t talk about meeting Rock Hudson or Roy Rogers or even President Reagan. No, he said there were two things that amazed him. One was how God so consistently made a way through a problem when there didn’t seem to be a way through the problem. He never bounced a check during his entire career. He didn’t even know how it was possible because in the beginning there just wasn’t enough money. The second thing my father said was, through his whole career, God never let his dream perish. His dream was to be an entrepreneur and that he would never have to work for anyone else. That’s not necessarily anyone else’s dream. There is nothing wrong with working for someone else. However, the dream that God laid on his heart was to be an entrepreneur.
My father said that he was going to die with gratitude in his heart because during his entire life he never received a paycheck. There was a brief time in college when as he put it he worked in the back kitchen of a greasy spoon café. It was amazing to my father that God not only put the dream in his heart but He always provided a way to have the dream be carried out.
Probably the most profound influence in my life was the teaching and encouragement that I received from my father. I was not in the theater business; I actually was a newspaper publisher. I graduated from the University of Colorado. My business career began in broadcast journalism. I was a co-host of a morning radio show five days a week. I absolutely loved the job. My partner was hysterically funny. We got a lot of positive feedback.
It was exciting and I loved radio. Then I had an opportunity to move into print journalism. I bought weekly newspapers that were struggling and I fixed them up and sold them. Just like buying a house and fixing it up and selling it. I did it with newspapers. I had found a niche in the newspaper business. So, for the next 18 years I worked in publishing and selling newspaper businesses. Towards the end of that time, just before I moved to Nashville, I felt Lord had been dealing with me. I needed to be more serious about my relationship with Christ. He was showing me there was more to business than making money.
My blessing was to be passed on to others. I got more involved and active in my church. That was helpful but in the end I felt the Lord wanted me to go to Bible College. I went to Nashville and I said to the Lord, “if you will make a way to go to Bible College I will go”. However, the sale of the Nashville paper would have to be pretty lucrative in order to take two years off. I would need money for rent and tuition and other expenses. There would need to be a pretty major blessing when I sold this paper. I felt the Lord said, “don’t worry about that. You do your part and I will do Mine”. I tried to remember that my father said, “God never let his dream perish”.
So, I went to Nashville and as that paper began to run down I came across another paper for sale in Las Cruces, New Mexico. As we tend to do sometimes, I started to negotiate with the Lord. I said “let me have one more paper and then I will go to Bible school”. I never heard a response from the Lord, so I to that as an OK to go ahead and buy the paper. So, I sold the Nashville paper and moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It’s true that I work at McDonalds now. However, it was not a fluke. It was God’s divine plan. When I went to Tulsa to go to school, I came across a man that owns 21 franchises. We began to talk about what I had done with my newspapers. He suggested that I take a restaurant business and do the same thing that I had done with the newspaper businesses. I said no because I came here to focus on my relationship with the Lord. But he was persistent and eventually I said that I would take one restaurant for six months.
We worked out the business relationship. That was eight McDonalds’ and six years ago and I am still doing it. The Lord holds things for us in our life. It really wasn’t a part of my vision when I came to Bible College. My main point that I want to conclude with is that all along the influences of Christian businessmen in my life have been very powerful and very helpful. This influence has never been stronger than in the last couple of months. When I first started to come to IFCB, I always felt very loved, encouraged and edified. Every time I come, without exception, I leave a better person. I leave with insight and encouragement that I didn’t have before I came. This organization has been very valuable to me. IFCB is an outstanding organization.
I will close with this. I have had some health issues myself also. I have been attending the Tuesday morning breakfasts regularly. However, I missed two because I was in the hospital. I was having trouble with my car the day before the next Tuesday breakfast. So, the neighbor was going to take Sarah my daughter to the Christian school she attends in the morning. I mentioned to Sarah that I was going to be gone to the fellowship breakfast when she got up. She wanted to know how I was going to get there. I said I was going to walk. This concerned her because I just got out of the hospital.
I said it’s only a 2-mile brisk walk and I do not want to miss it. I share that not to glorify myself. However, my whole testimony is to share what a wonderful work God is doing through IFCB. I want to testify that I have experienced it first hand. I want to express gratitude to the gentlemen that I share a table with each week. What is the one thing we can do to prosper our souls? We can fellowship with believers. I am thankful for the encouragement love and wisdom that I have received from this organization. IFCB has prospered my soul.