David Green, CEO and owner of Hobby Lobby, says he gave away his company because “I chose God.”
He also encouraged other business leaders to consider the true source of their success. Green always believed that his source of truth was prayer and the Bible.
Green explained that in the 80s, when he believed everything he touched met with success, then he almost lost a business.
Deuteronomy 8.18 states, “It’s God who gives us the power to make wealth.”
Other business owners like the owner of Patagonia and Barnhart Crane are making similar decisions.
An example Green gave was tithing. God is challenging us. He asked, “Can you imagine what would happen if every top business leader became a tither? There would be literally billions available for good work around the world.”
Green and his wife’s mission was to honor God. They are meant to be stewards and give back.
Breen implored all business leaders to decide if they were stewards or if they were making money for their purposes.
As a steward, Green gave his company away, allowing Green and his wife to follow their mission to follow God. The purpose is not just to make money. It is to help others, possibly others around the world.
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As an owner, there are certain rights and responsibilities, including the right to sell the company and keep the profits for yourself and your family. As our company grew, that idea began to bother me more and more. Well-meaning attorneys and accountants advised me to simply pass ownership down to my children and grandchildren. It didn’t seem fair to me that I might change or even ruin the future of grandchildren who had not even been born yet.
That bigger mission and purpose helped me realize that I was just a steward, a manager of what God had entrusted me. God was the true owner of my business.
More importantly, I was responsible for the mission and purpose of what I’d been given. When I realized that I was just a steward, it was easy to give away my ownership.
I think every CEO and business leader should consider whether they are owners or stewards. Consider the idea of where your success comes from. I’ve seen many a business with the greatest of ideas not make it, and yet others with the simplest of ideas thrive. I believe that God is the one who grants success, and with it the responsibility to be a good manager.
Best of all, when I made the decision to give away my ownership, similar to Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard, it allowed us to sustain our mission and purpose. It gives me a bigger purpose than just making money. Like Chouinard said, “Instead of ‘going public,’ you could say we’re ‘going purpose.’”