Didn’t know they existed did you? Who? The billionaires who love the Lord and are doing His work.
“They” wanted to keep you in the dark about it?
Who are “they”???
“They” are so many people…too many to name; but they’re the ones who’ll make you think wealth and Christ are an impossible marriage. Doesn’t matter how much logic you use or many Scriptures you show them…they just think you’re nuts for suggesting such a thing.
“They” say these things not realizing that the TRUE purpose of wealth IS for God’s glory.
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16 NKJV)
The same way Moses used Egypt’s wealth to build the Tabernacle, David used his wealth to build the Temple, wealth is to be used for the building of God’s Kingdom. And these billionaires have done exactly that: built Christian schools, bought land for churches, assisted in sending the Gospel around the world, and even personally persuaded people to accept Christ as their Savior.
But in addition to their charity we can learn a lot from their business practices. So let’s see what we can glean:
1. Put God First
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV)
This goes without saying, but the truth is you don’t read this much in Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Inc., Businessweek, and etc. But these billionaires made the deliberate effort to put God first in their business (and they continue to do it daily).
Do Won and Jin Sook Chang arrived in Los Angeles in 1981, not sure of what the future would hold. According to Mrs. Chang, she went on a mountain to pray and God told her to open a store and that it would be successful. They did. Now Forever 21 is a $3 billion, 477-store chain, 35,000 employee chain. Most of their major decisions, business ideas, and guidance don’t come from research and forecasting; they come through simple prayer.
Put God first…He’ll show you what to do next.
2. Learn to Give…Now.
“[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 AMP)
John D. Rockefeller once said, “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.” David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby, ($3 billion net worth)knows this firsthand. He practiced the principle of tithing when the business was very small–barely making any money. Even in the 80′s when the company was laden with debt, he continued to give; and slowly the company became profitable, and today has zero long term debt and is cash flow positive.
According to his son,
“For him, it (the business) was always a ministry. He couldn’t be a preacher, and grandma wanted six preachers, and he wished he could have been a preacher, but that wasn’t his calling. So he had to go where his gifting was, and he just loved the retail business. It was a way for them to have a business that they could minister in, and that was through giving. So my dad’s ministry was giving, not preaching.”
Before you can give on a grand scale learn to give on a small one.
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7 NKJV)
With the lure venture funding and the mystical IPO many start-ups forget that cash flow is the life of a business…not funding. Besides, given the fact that many Venture Capitalists have ignored the crowd looking for the “next” Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare, bootstrapping may prove to be the best course of action.
It’s hard but not impossible; there are tons of startups who’ve bootstrapped their way to success. Just ask S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A ($1.5 billion net worth) When he and his brother Ben decided to open a new restaurant they underestimated the cost of the project. But with each problem they found creative answers:
- A shortage of nails. They solved this problem by going to small towns where nails in small quantities could be found and by straightening bent nails.
- A shortage of lumber. This was solved by finding scrap wood from torn-down buildings.
- A lack of reasonably priced restaurant equipment. They purchased used equipment from restaurants that had gone out of business.
- A shortage of reasonably priced skilled labor. They did much of the construction themselves. This involved learning how to hang sheet rock and dig footings.
- A shortage of some critical items, particularly meat. This was solved by asking for help from one of the large local restaurants. That restaurant had privileged access to meat suppliers and agreed to purchase meat for the Cathy brothers.
Learn to do more with less.
4. When times are bad…go on the offensive.
“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, ‘Please bring the ephod here to me.’ And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all. ‘” (1 Samuel 30:6-8 NKJV)
It’s the strategy Warren Buffet has used for decades: “Be greedy when others are cautious, and be cautious when others are greedy.” The best time to take over enemy territory is WHEN they’re on the defensive–Philip Anshutz ($7 billion net worth) should know.
When he was 27 a rig supervisor called to tell Anschutz that there had been a big blowout at an exploratory well he was drilling near Gillette, Wyo. Anschutz chartered a small plane to Gillette and persuaded a farmer living near the landing strip to rent him a pickup for the day. By the time he arrived at the site, it was ankle-deep in crude oil and the air was thick with natural gas.
He got the well capped. Then he did something few people would have the wits to do in a crisis: He bought up oil leases on the cheap all around the region, before word got out that a big field had been discovered. He didn’t have the money to pay for the leases, so he bought them on 30 days’ credit, figuring banks would soon lend him whatever he needed.
Later that morning he flew home to Denver and flipped on the TV. The big story: a colossal oil field fire in Gillette, Wyo. Anschutz quickly returned to the site, where all he could see was flames.
He was convinced he was ruined.
Red Adair, the famed oil-fire fighter, was reluctant to help. He had never heard of Anschutz and couldn’t find anyone to vouch for his creditworthiness. “Kid, I checked you out, and you don’t check out,” Adair told him. Anschutz pleaded with Adair, saying, “You’ve gotta believe me.” Adair relented but warned him: “If you don’t pay me, don’t ever have another oil field fire.”
Meanwhile, Anschutz had somehow learned that Universal Studios was doing a movie about Adair. He quickly negotiated a deal with Universal to film the crews fighting his fire for a fee of $100,000–enough to keep him afloat until the banks lent him money to pay for the leases he had bought on credit.
Anschutz wound up making millions.
When times are tough adapt, change, and get tougher.
5. Be Mission Minded
“But the noble-hearted man has noble purposes, and by these he will be guided.” (Isaiah 32:8 BBE)
Great entrepreneurs ALWAYS have a purpose that goes beyond making money. Yes, they make money but also set out to change the world in some way. They’re visionaries but their visions flow out of a core purpose; and the purpose of the vision is to fulfill their core purpose:
These billionaires see their work as a calling, a way through which they serve God. Or in the words of Dr. Stephen Riady, president of the Lippo Group (an Indonesia conglomerate with revenues of more than $3 billion):
“I think as Christians, we should know what the purpose of life is. The Bible tells us that the purpose of life is to know Christ and to grow in Him. So our purpose here is not just to make money. We want to glorify Him. And the way to do this is through our daily life, our experiences in family, business, and so on.”
Don’t just be a person of business, be a person of mission. Change the world in some way!
Is there anything I missed? What’s your take on wealth and the Kingdom?