David Green is giving away Hobby Lobby…￼
He says he's giving it to God, which is probably news to God.
8:27 AM EDT on October 24, 2022
The Lord works in mysterious ways!
On Friday afternoon, arts and craft mogul David Green – the ultra-conservative billionaire founder of Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby – announced in an editorial on God-approved Fox News that he’s giving away the company, no coupon required, and it’s all God’s fault.
Well, at least that’s what I think is happening.
In the meandering editorial, he doesn’t go into detail saying who he’s giving the company to or when it’s going to happen, but he does use the opportunity to spread the Gospel and preach about God.
Patagonia’s founder recently made news when he gave away the ownership in his company to allow the mission and purpose to remain intact. His decision, while rare, reflects the decision of other business owners like Alan Barnhart of Barnhart Crane.
I experienced a similar decision-making process with my ownership of Hobby Lobby; I chose God.
The thought process reflects a basic competition of ideas that I think every business leader should reflect upon. What is the true source of your success?
In the mid-1980s I went through a period where I’d grown proud thinking that I had the Midas touch – and I nearly lost the business. God had to show me that He was the one who granted success. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8.18 that it’s God who gives us the power to make wealth.
In that vein, I’d encourage every leader to consider their source of truth. What is the basis upon which they make decisions? Is it just themselves, or even a leadership team?
For me, my source of truth has always been prayer and the Bible. I truly believe that if leaders pray and seek truth from the Bible that their businesses will be revolutionized.
Hey, if I made billions and billions of dollars selling cheap arts & crafts, frames, and cross-wall ornaments produced in poor third-world countries, I’d probably credit and/or fear a higher power, too, but isn’t that a weak argument containing more holes than a cheap wicker basket?
For example, why did God bless David Green over the millions of other Christian business owners out there? Also, why has God let so many Christian businesses fail?
I'd also like to hear what David Green thinks about all the successful companies that keep religion out of their business model, respect various religious beliefs, or, even worse, were founded and owned by atheists!
Don’t those examples refute Green’s argument that "if leaders pray and seek truth from the Bible that their businesses will be revolutionized?"
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.
Yikes. Wouldn’t it suck to be David Green’s great great great grandkids? Instead of owning Hobby Lobby, they’re going to have to get real jobs at one!
Even though he’s giving away Hobby Lobby, I bet David Green will save some of the billions he made, and the great great great grandkids can always get vanity jobs at his big Bible Museum.
As I considered my path, I realized that all my success had come from God. My wife, Barbara, and I had started this business with a $600 loan and I don’t think anyone would have bet on us to become successful.
But from the very beginning our purpose was to honor God in all that we did. We worked hard and God gave the results. As we were blessed by God, we saw it as a great privilege to give back. We’ve been able to provide hope through supporting ministries and planting churches all over the world.
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.
Uhm, did it ever occur to Mr. Green that maybe – just maybe – God is a Michael’s fan?
Seriously, how arrogant do you have to be to think that God wants to own a chain of arts and crafts stores? The diety has lived for eternity behind the Golden Gates of Heaven surrounded by angels, unicorns and Marilyn Monroe, and can whip up anything in the universe with the snap of his finger. Like he really wants to deal with the operational headaches of running a giant strip mall retail chain.
Let’s wrap this up:
That stewardship gave me a greater responsibility. I wasn’t supposed to take the profits of the business and use them for myself. I also had a responsibility to the employees that God had put in my charge. This is why our company pays a minimum wage of $18.50 per hour, why we close on Sunday (which had been our most profitable day of business), and why we close by 8 p.m. every day.
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.
Even though they don’t cover birth control pills on employee healthcare plans and made people show up to work during the boom of the deadly pandemic, I do think it’s cool that Hobby Lobby pays their employees well and, for the most part, seems to treat them okay.
That being said, know what would really impress God – if David Green gave away all of his wealth and possessions and got a job making $18.50 an hour as an employee at Hobby Lobby. Although I’m sure that would impress the man upstairs, something tells me that’s not going to happen.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.
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