David Green learned how to give to others long before he founded Hobby Lobby, the well-known chain of retail arts and crafts stores across the United States. His parents never had much money, but they were two of the most generous people David has ever known.
David still remembers his dad writing someone a check for $100 even though the most he’d ever made in a week was $138. And his mom once gave a dress out of her own closet to a woman in need. It was one of only five his mother owned.
That kind of sacrificial giving wasn’t unusual for David’s parents. They loved the Lord and, to them, giving to people in need is what you did.
That spirit of sacrificial giving is what the entire Green family has committed themselves to since David and his wife, Barbara, started Hobby Lobby in 1970 in their garage with a $600 loan. This year, they’ll do nearly $4.5 billion dollars in business, with no debt.
They attribute their success to running their business according to scriptural principles. Beyond conservative financial management, Hobby Lobby employs six chaplains who are available to staff in times of need and who share Christ with the employees. People of any faith or no faith are frequently hired, and hundreds of staff have come to know Christ over the years.
The Greens don’t measure success strictly in terms of numbers or company profit. They also give serious consideration to how well they reach out to others. That can be something of a moving target. David remembers years ago when he thought to himself, “You can’t out-give God.” He then remembers God telling him, “Well, you really haven’t tried, so …”
That moment has compelled the Green family to give millions of dollars over the years to those in need and has convinced David that God’s rewards for giving often transcend the financial, such as stronger marriages, children who come to the Lord, or even less stress.
And the good news is, you don’t have to have a lot of money to give in the name of Christ. All of us can give of our time or our talents, too.
The Green family are good friends of Focus on the Family. They’ve help us in different ways over the years, and I admire how they’ve lived out their faith in Christ. It’s remarkable what God can do through people who are yielded to Him.