David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, is one of the richest men in America. What separates him from most billionaires is the acknowledgement that everything he has belongs to God. In Giving It All Away . . . and Getting It All Back Again, Green tells his story of giving, and encourages all of us to join him on a journey of generosity.
I love the fact that Green doesn't give because he's wealthy, but he gives because he loves to give. His parents provided the example. His father was a pastor, always in very small, rural churches. When church members brought gifts in kind, such as a basket of produce, his mother would carefully estimate the monetary value of the basket and tithe accordingly. David and his siblings discovered late in his father's life that he gave much of his salary right back to the church.
As Green's business found more and more success, he heard very clearly from God that the business belongs to God. Green's goal, then, is to honor God in the way the business is run, and to use the profits to spread the gospel. He writes, "If we don't use Hobby Lobby's earnings to touch people for the Lord, I really don't see the reason for me to be in business at all."
Green writes about his passion for the business, and it's clear that he delights in making Hobby Lobby profitable, in providing products that people want, and in providing jobs for thousands of people. But his passion for the gospel is even greater. He sees every ministry contribution as an investment in eternity. Anticipating the impact that the works he supports will have, he says, "I think the most satisfied and joyful person in heaven will be Jesus as he looks around at all those who have been saved from a life of misery."
Clearly very few of his readers will ever be able to give like Green and his family can and do. But whether you are blessed with a fortune or get by week to week, the principles he presents and models are worth emulating. He gets inspiration from the British missionary C.T. Studd, who had great inherited wealth but gave his money and his life toward the spreading of the gospel. Studd wrote a famous poem which says, in part, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."
I'm pretty sure I'll never share a spot with Green on Forbes's billionaire list. But he and I can stand side by side as stewards of our resources for God's glory. I appreciate his example and inspiration.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!