Nelson Nash— The Man (1931-2019)


L. Carlos Lara

Nelson Nash’s primary goal in life was pointing people to Jesus Christ.

That may seem a surprising assessment of Nelson Nash for someone who was in business with him in matters relating to economics and finance, but above all in my estimation, this is really what he did. His famous stand alone book, Becoming Your Own Banker, which is known throughout the world and has been read by hundreds of thousands of individuals, has ten biblical quotations in it to support his writing, and more importantly, his thinking. That’s one Bible verse for every ten pages of his ninety-two-page book. You know from reading it that the man was unmistakably a Christian.

Furthermore, if you ever heard him speak, you could not miss the fact that Nelson was very certain of his final destination after his life here on earth was over. Nelson not only knew where he was going, but he also genuinely wanted everyone he came in contact with to go with him. For Nelson that was all this life was about. He made preparations for his own final voyage right up to the last minute. Even in the last days nearing his death he continued to share with us his readiness and our need to accept the fact of his approaching last departure. In doing so he was a great role model of faith, hope and love.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Nelson was well aware of his own humanity. He would be the first to admit he was no saint. Anyone who ever heard Nelson speak in public knows all too well that he never pulled any punches, even while making audiences laugh. He always spoke his mind, even if he had to step on a few toes while doing it. But in private conversations he could sometimes leave you open-mouthed. One thing was certain; you could never be bored being around the man. What a delightful personality he was!

For Mary, his wife of sixty-six years, it must have been like having to hold a tiger by the tail. Bless her heart; her accounts of Nelson could easily bend you over with laughter even though many of those experiences she had with him were downright dangerous. No question about it—Nelson was uniquely curious about everything and Mary, who traveled everywhere with him, seemed to take it all in stride.

The void left behind is cavernous. You may ask, “How will it ever be filled?” It can’t be. There was only one Nelson Nash as there was only one Leonard Read, one Hazlitt, one Rothbard, one Hayek, and only one Mises. All of these men were powerful teachers who were able to disciple many throughout their lives. They were rare individuals who were set apart, I dare say, for a special mission. We knew they were on a mission when we finally comprehended through their verbal communications or writings that we were in the presence of an original. Nelson was that kind of person. He was truly distinctive and a giant among the greatest of men.

Yet we must remember that each of these men was at one time a disciple and they helped carry their mentor’s baton even further toward the finish line. This is the wonderful thing, we must never forget, about Nelson’s idea in its greater context. He has bestowed upon the “remnant,” that’s you and me, the ability to survive him and continue to carry forward the message to thousands of others. That’s a tremendous blessing and a responsibility that I am grateful he has left to us. “Now thanks be to God who causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the aroma of his knowledge by us in every place.” Amen!