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‘I Chose God’: Hobby Lobby Founder David Green to Give Away Ownership

Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr

‘I Chose God’: Hobby Lobby Founder David Green to Give Away Ownership

By Movieguide® Staff

David Green, the 80-year-old founder, and owner of Hobby Lobby, a multibillion-dollar retail store chain, recently announced that he would step away from the company.

Green said that he had “chosen God,” and also hopes that the change will allow Hobby Lobby to continue to be successful.

“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,” Green wrote in an op-ed for Fox News.

Green continued:

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. 

For instance, the Bible talks about giving a tithe or 10%. In fact, tithing is one of those areas where God specifically challenges us to give and see if he won’t throw open the windows of blessing (Malachi 3:10). Can you imagine what would happen if every top leader in business became a tither? There would be literally billions available for good work around the world.

Another simple idea – the book of Proverbs in the Bible has 31 chapters – read a chapter a day to get wisdom beyond yourself.

But perhaps the biggest challenge is to ask the question of whether you are an owner or a steward – a manager of what you’ve been entrusted with

“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,” Green added in the op-ed. “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.

“Well-meaning attorneys and accountants advised me to simply pass ownership down to my children and grandchildren,” he added. “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.”

Green also said that in the 1980s, at a time when he almost lost his company, God had humbled him to see that his wealth truly belongs to God.

“God had to show me that He was the one who granted success,” Green said, quoting the Bible: “It’s God who gives us the power to make wealth.”

As he looks forward, Green continues to rely on God:

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.

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. 

Please pray for the Green family and Hobby Lobby during this transition.