The following is an excerpt from David Green’s new book, Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again. David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, delves into an amazing story of generosity. David’s heart and passion for God’s glory is contagious, and his example of giving is one that can instill courage in us all. David shares with us how a line from a poem from C. T. Studd has really helped to shape his thoughts and actions.
What I’ve Learned That’s Most Important
I love British cricketer and missionary C. T. Stud’s poem “Only One Life.” The one line that really gets me is “Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I have committed myself fully to this. I believe that God has placed us on this earth to work, to earn, and to care for those he has entrusted to us. Yet I also believe that we are put on this earth to give, to devote ourselves to a radical brand of generosity that changes lives and leaves a legacy. To paraphrase God’s words to patriarch Abraham, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing.
But what do we mean when we talk about being blessed? In our culture, this might be interpreted as financial blessing. And certainly finances can be part of it. I believe, however, that the blessing God talks about encompasses so much more. Since I have been exceptionally blessed in my life, I have determined to give exceptionally as well. And what about the other ways in which I’ve been blessed?
I could go on. I’m sure you could too.
When I consider all of the blessings I’ve been given, it’s hard for me not to pause and thank my Lord and my God. His heart is generous. His blessings are wide and rich.
People may know my name now, but I started out like any Joe. Humble beginnings, working hard. But, as God would have it, my story took a turn. It was a turn marked by a faith that pushed me to my limits. Through it all, I learned to trust, and that trust led me onto a path of generosity. I look forward to telling some of the story of this journey in the pages of this book.
My second purpose is to offer the lessons my wife, Barbara, and I learned while trying to fashion a legacy for those who come after us in our family.
And there it is: legacy. What is a legacy, anyway?
The dictionary gives two definitions. First, a legacy is an amount of money or property passed to someone in a will. Second, a legacy is a thing handed down by a predecessor. I want to use the second definition because I believe it includes everything—from belief to right action to finances. You and I possess so much to hand to our predecessors, things seen and unseen.
My story begins in the unseen things. God took me on a wild trip that landed me where I am today, in the land of seen things—my company, Hobby Lobby. But God has taught me that with great wealth and power comes great obligation to the next generation. Knowing this, I have worked through my legacy plan more than once and have finally landed here, writing you my thoughts on the matter.
This is the story I want to recount now. My hope is that others can learn from it and that perhaps our generation can begin doing what few generations before us have done well: pass a true legacy on to those who follow us.
David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby, the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world. He is soft-spoken, passionate about his faith, and dedicated to his family.
In 1970 David Green borrowed $600.00 to buy a molding chopper, set up shop in his garage at home, and started making miniature wooden picture frames. As of 2015, Hobby Lobby employs over 32,000 people, operates 600 stores in forty-seven states, and grosses 3.6 billion dollars a year.
David & his wife Barbara are the proud parents of two sons and one daughter, grandparents to ten, and great grandparents to eight. David writes what it looks like to leave a lasting legacy in Giving It All Away..And Getting It Back Again (Zondervan).
Bill High practiced law for 12 years before becoming the CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. His mission is to change the way people think about generosity and their practice of it. He is married to Brooke and they have four children, two son-in-laws, and one grandchild. He can be found at www.williamghigh.com.
Taken from Giving It All Away…And Getting It Back Again by David Green with Bill High. Copyright © [2017 by David Green. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
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