Hobby Lobby Founder David Green encouraged the graduating class of Oral Roberts University to remember that while it’s important to work hard, earthly success means nothing if it doesn’t bring glory to God.
“If you’re very successful and you’re not seeing people, whatever you’re doing out there, coming to know the Lord, you really gotta ask if you’re doing anything that’s gonna help for eternity,” Green told audiences gathered at ORU Mabee Center on Saturday. “We all…should be concerned about bringing others to know Jesus Christ as their personal and Savior.”
Green, who recently released a new book, Giving It All Away… And Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, started Hobby Lobby with his wife, Barbara, back in 1972 with just a few hundred dollars. Today, with almost 750 stores, Hobby Lobby is considered the largest privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer in the world.
Now headed by Green’s son, Steve, Hobby Lobby remains a privately-owned, family-run company, dedicated to operating all aspects of business according to its faith.
Speaking to the ORU graduates, Green highlighted three important mile markers ahead of them: marriage, a Godly family and success at work.
“Marriage is so important to God,” he began. “The Bible says God hates divorce…Make a decision that you will have a life and marriage of ‘until death do us part’. Make a decision that you will not separate what God has joined together…that you’ll be different from the rest of the world. Commit yourself to a life-long marriage.”
A wonderful marriage, Green said, is possible with God.
Second, he encouraged graduates to commit to having a godly family: “It’s a decision you make in advance of having a family, because it will take commitment and hard work,” he said. To have a godly family, Green charged, it’s important to make your marriage a priority, live your faith as a family, and tithe as a family.
“Tithing shows our children what we believe, that we do believe God’s word, that He will provide for us,” he explained.
Finally, Green said God put people on earth to work — and our work should be seen as worship unto the Lord.
“God has a call for each one of our lives,” he said. “The Bible has already told you your calling — it’s whatever. Your job is to be faithful at whatever God puts in front of you.”
He concluded: “If we know the Lord and follow through on our decisions to drive these stakes into the ground, we can say as Paul said, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I’ve kept the faith.’ In doing so we will change our world.”
Green has been described by Forbes magazine as “the largest evangelical benefactor in the world”. He previously told the outlet he believes his entire $5.1 billion empire belongs to God.
“If you have anything or if I have anything, it’s because it’s been given to us by our Creator,” he said. “So I have learned to say, ‘Look, this is yours, God. It’s all yours. I’m going to give it to you…you can’t have a belief system on Sunday and not live it the other six days”.
He later told CBN News that his business was built on Biblical principles – including giving to charities, religious organizations, and universities. According to Forbes, Green also put nearly 1.4 billion copies of gospel literature in homes in more than 100 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia.
“We try to do as much as we can, especially as we have rid ourselves of any debt,” he said. “We’ve always tithed. That’s something that we always have been taught, but we’ve also been taught that that’s not giving. Giving is above what we owe God, and that is our tithes.”
A press release from ORU notes that the Green family has given generously to the university over the past 10 years, helping “eradicate…debt, increase campus renovations, fund Whole Person Scholarships and many other university initiatives.”
The family is also behind the Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world. In November, the 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum will open its doors just three blocks from the Capitol in Washington, D.C.