August 22, 2018
Who Is the Real Owner?
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. – Exodus 35:21
Inventor and industrialist Robert LeTourneau was a man who built his business with God as his partner. In his book, “Mover of Men and Mountains,” LeTourneau tells how the partnership came about.
LeTourneau had been called upon to address the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, and there, he stated publicly the theme that he continued to repeat for the rest of his life: “The preachers can tell us that Christianity works. They are God’s salesmen, selling salvation and the Christian way of life. But unless we businessmen support them, and testify that Christianity is the driving power of our business, you’ll always have doubters claiming that religion is all talk and no production.”
That evening, LeTourneau and his wife, Evelyn, sat down on the back stairs of their house. He said to her, “We claim to be in partnership with God, but we aren’t really. We have a good year, and we give Him a tithe as His share. . . . but when you consider what God has done for us, we ought to do better for Him out of gratitude.”He went on to propose that they set up a foundation dedicated to God and His works. They would give half of the stock in their company to the foundation, and keep half for themselves. His wife agreed that this plan sounded fine, but… “But what?” he asked. Evelyn responded, “We’ll have over half a million in profits this year. If we give half of that to the foundation, what can we do with a quarter of a million dollars? It’s just too much.” LeTourneau agreed, and suggested that they also give half of their own income, “to keep it personal.” God blessed that commitment, and his company continued to grow. Eventually LeTourneau and his wife dedicated 90% of the company stock and 90% of their personal income to the foundation, which sponsored Christian missions in South America and Africa.
Known in the industrial world as “God’s Businessman,” LeTourneau had learned the great principal that stewardship is not doing something for God with your money, but doing something for others with His money.
Today, if God is the real “owner” of your money, how will that fact be evidenced in the way you manage it? Let’s be sure we are fulfilling our responsibility to use the resources God has blessed us with to assist others and to further the Gospel.