Forbes’ Christian Billionaires
I was reading the Forbes list for 2012 online recently and came across Christian billionaires who had accomplished amazing things. They are founders of some of the biggest brands in their respective industries and unashamedly vocal about their faith.
He is a 70 year old billionaire and founder of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain with 520 superstores in 42 states. Green and his family own 100% of the company and he ranks No. 79 on the list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion. “If you have anything or if I have anything, it’s because it’s been given to us by our Creator,” says Green, “So I have learned to say, ‘Look, this is yours, God. It’s all yours. I’m going to give it to you.’” Green keeps the total amount of his giving private but Forbes has estimated his total lifetime giving at above $500million, making him the largest individual financier of evangelical causes in America. Green sponsors the YouVersion Bible app for mobile phones which has already been downloaded over 50 million times. He also plans to give 90% of his wealth to ministry work when he dies. He is the owner of the largest private collection of biblical antiquities in the world and plans to open the Museum of the Bible within three years.
Green recalls the memory of his parents’ putting their last dime on the collection plate. His father was a poor preacher yet despite their financial state, Green’s mother stepped out in faith and regularly gave to the church. He attributes his blessing to his mother’s giving and the fact that he continues to give today.
Green says, “For me, I want to know that I have affected people for eternity. I believe I am. I believe once someone knows Christ as their personal savior, I’ve affected eternity. I matter 10 billion years from now. I matter. Someone that does all this doesn’t matter. I’m sorry, it’s gone.”
Jin Sook and Do Won Chang
Jin Sook and her husband Do Won Chang rank No. 79 on the list of the 400 richest Americans, in joint place with David Green. They are the founders of fashion retail outlet “Forever 21″. In 1981 they immigrated to America from Korea. Do Won held three jobs to survive, doing janitorial work, pumping gas and working in a coffee shop. They soon opened their first clothing store in 1984. Today Forever 21 operates 480 stores with an estimated annual turnover of over $3 billion. Jin Sook and Do Won Chang make a point of printing John 3:16 on the bottom of every Forever 21 shopping bag.
Truett Cathy is the 91 year old founder of food outlet Chick-fil-A and ranks No. 89 on the list of the 400 richest Americans. He opened his first Chick-fil-A outlet in Atlanta in 1967. Forty-five years later, the devout Baptist is the CEO of the second largest fried chicken chain in the country, with KFC being the largest. Chick-fil-A recently made news headlines due to their vocal opposition to gay marriage. All Chick-fil-A stores are always closed on Sundays so that employees can attend church services.
A lot can be learned from the way these Christian billionaires have trusted God with their businesses, given towards Kingdom expansion and how despite their extraordinary financial success, they remain humble and unashamed of the Gospel.
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