Despite the fact that he’s closing in on his 81st birthday this coming November 14th, Hobby Lobby founder and owner, David Green, is still thinking long-term.
“In Europe and other parts of the world there are businesses that have been in existence for more than 200 years,” Green reflected. “We tend to not think like that in the United States. It’s made me think more and more about the idea of building a business to last 200 years – a business that would continue to honor God, reward employees with meaningful work and compensation, and be great contributors to hope and healing around the world. The responsibility to steward that kind of culture is powerful. Truly, that is noble work.”
Green made headlines this past week when he announced plans to give his company away – a move that brings to mind Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard’s plan to use proceeds from the outdoor retailer to somehow fight the changing climate around the world.
The Hobby Lobby scion’s focus, though, extends well beyond worry about the weather.
“From the very beginning, our purpose was to honor God in all that we did,” Green added. “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.”
The Greens didn’t wait to give back until they had excess – they’ve given from the very beginning, even from the meager proceeds of a company that began on a $600 bank loan. According to reports, David Green is worth more than $13 billion. Hobby Lobby stores generate upwards of $6.4 billion annually.
“There’s a huge paradigm change between owning a company and stewarding it, and we want to be stewards of what God has given us,” Green wrote.
How exactly is the retail giant “giving way” the popular chain?
Reports indicate the company’s stock is being transferred to a trust fund.
“All the voting stock is in 1% in its trust, and it is being managed and stewarded instead of seeing ourselves as owners,” Dave Green explained.
It seems the famed retailer is also wanting to avoid the pitfalls of inherited family fortunes.
“Wealth can be a curse and, in most cases, if you drill down on it, wealth is a curse in terms of marriage, children and things of that nature; so we’re stewarding our company and, therefore, our children come to work, and they get what they earn… it’s a paradigm change from ownership that can really wreck a family,” Green added.
Isn’t that refreshing?
Christians, especially, enjoy shopping at Greens’ stores because we like to support this type of wise and thoughtful leader. We also appreciate courageous and principled people who are willing to take the heat of a hostile culture.
Whether it’s refusing to pay for abortifacients in its health care coverage, proudly proclaiming the true meaning of Christmas and Easter in their seasonal advertisements, closing Sunday to give their employees a day to worship – or funding the remarkable Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., Hobby Lobby is a honorable retailer we can support in good conscience.
“For me, my source of truth has always been prayer and the Bible,” Green shared. “I truly believe that if leaders pray and seek truth from the Bible that their businesses will be revolutionized.”
David Green’s perspective is just as applicable for our everyday lives. Open your Bible and the world and the world to come will open even wider to you.