The Monk & The Minister

Hey guys! Off house hunting today so dropping a short and sweet one on you this morning :)

Which one do you strive to be?

The Monk & The Minister Parable:

Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king.

Years later they meet up again.

As they catch up, the minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin, shabby monk. Seeking to help, he says: “You know, if you could learn to cater to the king you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.”

To which the monk replies: “If you could learn to live on rice and beans you wouldn’t have to cater to the king!”

Hat tip to JL Collins’ most excellent blog for this… Something to think about!

(Visited 166 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Chris @ Flipping a Dollar June 17, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    Such a good one. I first saw it on JL Collins’ blog, and now I’m more and more sure that having FU money (as JL Collins calls it) is the key. That way, you can walk away. I’ve been able to curate my current position into something that I want. As my boss put it: “You have the same degree than me but are going in a direction that I never could have imagined. But I get why you’re doing it, and it’s very valuable.” Being financially pragmatic and planning ahead has definitely helped me in my career!

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:21 AM

      Hell yeah, man! Doesn’t matter how much you earn or how far you advance – it’s about how much you’re saving and setting yourself up to be free! Keep killing it!

  2. The Green Swan June 17, 2016 at 5:46 AM

    I strive for a happy median, nobody wants to cater to the king any longer than they have to, and not many can be satisfied with a life of rice and beans.

    1. Lisa O June 17, 2016 at 9:50 AM

      I think I have to agree with you!

  3. Thias @It Pays Dividends June 17, 2016 at 6:11 AM

    Love it! I know that I need to cater to someone for awhile but only as a method to achieving my goals and getting out to cater to myself and my family instead. Happy house hunting!

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:22 AM


  4. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers June 17, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    I look at this more through the eyes of religious conviction that frugal living. In my opinion this is showing that the minister is willing to sell his religion and thus break the second of the ten commandments because he is worshiping the money of the king by conforming to the kings doctrines instead of what he actually believes. Whereas the monk chose to stay true to his religious convictions and not deny his faith just for worldly gain.

    “Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.” ~

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:24 AM

      Well that’s a different take! Haha… And perhaps more in tune to what it was originally meant, before us $$ bloggers got a hold of it ;)

  5. Latoya @ Femme Frugality June 17, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    Sounds to me like the minister to the king is doing what most of us do, working! As long as he is saving all that money he is making, then I wouldn’t mind being in his shoes for a bit for the extra money…I just hope the king knows I’m not going to be around that long after I stack enough coins:)

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:25 AM

      He’ll have plenty of people to choose from for your replacement, not to worry :)

  6. Pete June 17, 2016 at 7:57 AM

    I hadn’t heard that one before. I like it :)

    Incoming random long parable comment—>

    A farmer is in his field one day, watching a man walk down the road.

    The man stopped when he reached the farmer and asked “hey mister. I’ve been traveling a while and thinking about stopping in the town just ahead. Can you tell me about the people there?”

    “Well, what were the people like in the town you came from?” the farmer replied.

    “Eh. They were a miserable lot. I never enjoyed their company, and it’s why I left.”

    “Well sadly, the town just ahead is the same. Sorry about that.” the farmer said, and the man continued down the road.

    The next day, yet another traveler stopped at the farmer’s field.

    “hey mister. I’ve been traveling a while and thinking about stopping in the town just ahead. Can you tell me about the people there?”

    “Well, what were the people like in the town you came from?” the farmer asked.

    “Salt of the Earth. It was a wonderful community, and I was so sad to be leaving such great people.”

    “You’re in luck,” the farmer said, “that’s exactly the same type of people you’ll find in the town ahead.”

    1. Kim @ Needing The Dough June 17, 2016 at 8:43 AM

      I have never heard this one before! I love it!

      1. Lisa O June 17, 2016 at 9:49 AM

        Nice….food for thought!

    2. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:28 AM

      Great one! Hadn’t heard that one before either :)

  7. ZJ Thorne June 17, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    If you find a king you admire, providing support and advice is an honor.

  8. PhysicianOnFIRE June 17, 2016 at 8:32 AM

    It’s good to be king, if just for a while
    To be there in velvet, yeah, to give ’em a smile
    It’s good to get high, and never come down
    It’s good to be king of your own little town

    It’s good to be king and have your own way
    Get a feeling of peace at the end of the day
    And when your bulldog barks and your canary sings
    You’re out there with winners, yeah, it’s good to be king

    It’s good to be king and have your own world.
    It helps to make friends, it’s good to meet girls
    A sweet little queen who can’t run away
    It’s good to be king, whatever it pays

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:29 AM


      I suppose that is what financial freedom brings us, eh?

  9. Done by Forty June 17, 2016 at 10:55 AM

    I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard, to be the shepherd.

  10. Fiscally Free June 17, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    I’m definitely more like the monk.
    Our current journey demonstrates that perfectly. We are trying to downsize and simplify so I don’t have to cater to the corporate “king” any more.

  11. Syed June 17, 2016 at 10:59 AM

    Love this parable. Very thought provoking. I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to be the monk or the minister or anything in between. A minister could have a bad and prideful attitude and so could the monk. Humility and usefullness to others is the key.

    Good luck on the house hunting!

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:30 AM

      Good point!

      And thanks – we just locked one in finally! More on it tomorrow :)

  12. Free to Pursue June 17, 2016 at 11:09 AM

    Yes. I love this one…among many other favourites by JL. Often the simplest stories carry in them the deepest meaning.

  13. Free Range Nation June 17, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Love, love, LOVE it! The concept, at least. I personally need to add a lot of fresh, organic, local fruits and veggies to my diet, which aren’t as cheap as beans and rice, but it does keep me energized and more productive in the long run. I ask my clients to think carefully about every purchase and ask themselves how much freedom do they have to give up to work for someone else for this item? 15 mins … ? One hour… ? One day… ? One week… ? One month… ? One year… ? And then, is it worth it? If it brings tremendous value or return on investment, go for it. If not, sit on it awhile. Then, when they decide not to make the purchase, I suggest putting that amount into their Freedom Fund, or FU fund, as many like to call it. How about the Middle Finger Fund to keep the fun there and the profanity out. :)

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:31 AM

      I can get down with that ;) Great idea.

  14. Josh June 17, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    One of my favorite ones buddy! Isn’t Jim Collins’ blog awesome? I sometimes forget that there are lots of other places in the world that people would give anything for the opportunity to cater to the king. I feel fortunate to get to have some good work to do. May not feel the same way Monday, but today… :)

  15. Pengepugeren June 17, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    Can I choose to be the king? :-)

  16. Paul June 17, 2016 at 12:32 PM

    FALSE….The king can still have you executed.

  17. Lisa June 17, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    A powerful short story! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Joe June 17, 2016 at 12:49 PM

    Too extreme on both sides… We have to find our own happy medium.
    Truthfully, I don’t want to live on rice and beans…

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:34 AM

      I think that’s where a lot of us fall :) I’ve skewed in both directions over the years, but finally (hopefully!) getting better with the balance.

  19. Clint June 17, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    I shall choose to be the bard who is telling the tale…that will be 5 pieces of silver please:)

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:35 AM

      Haha… do you take Paypal?

      1. Clint June 19, 2016 at 7:54 PM

        Paypal is accepted if no silver is on hand, but no IOU’s…that’s how we bards starve.

  20. Josh @MoneyBuffalo June 17, 2016 at 3:06 PM

    As others have said, the middle ground is key. It’s like the Parable of the Mexican Fisherman you posted a little while back.

    But it still is a great analogy. I’d take rice & beans, if I can have ice cream several times a week.

    1. J. Money June 19, 2016 at 11:35 AM

      Amen, brotha

  21. Mike B June 17, 2016 at 9:19 PM

    Short and sweet, I like it!

  22. Linda June 18, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    I’m a vegetarian, so a lot of my meals include rice and beans! I would rather live like the monk any day.

  23. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank June 18, 2016 at 6:42 PM

    The monk is really bright!