Hobby Lobby Founder Shares Biblical Wisdom For Family And Business:Â We had special guest David Green, Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, on to talk about his new book titled, “Giving It All Away.” In this episode, he shares the wisdom he has learned to have success in business and at home. Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date:Â 06/06/2018
Guest: David Green
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about the day”s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton”s with us. He’s a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator.
Check us out at WallBuildersLive.com. If you’d like some archives of the programs, some of the programs over the last few weeks, if you’d like to find out more about the program and stations we’re on across the country.
And then also at WallBuilders.com, our main website, where you can download articles, you can get DVDs, and books, and all kinds of tools that are just chock full of great information to inspire and equip you, educate you. This is great stuff and you want to share it with your friends and family, so check it out there WallBuilders.com.
Later in the program, David Green is going to be with us from Hobby Lobby. Looking forward to this interview, a great new book out. And David, Tim, of course the Green family of Hobby Lobby has been a tremendous blessing to the country – both by the example that they”ve set the way they run the company, but also the litigation and being willing to stand up to President Obama and the Obama administration in the socialized medicine.
One thing you can say about the Green family is they are full of sound character. They were willing to stand and fight when the battle called for it. They’re not combative, they’re not confrontational, they take principled positions. They have a service mentality that is kind of like Chick-fil-A and what they do. They treat their employees really, really, well, but they stand by principles and they’re willing to defend those principles.
And because they did the entire nation benefited in the rights of conscience protection from, at that time, the Obama administration saying, “Hey, if you’re pro life your business has to fund abortion activities.” Well, they stood and fought that on behalf of everyone else.
But they’re just a class act in so many ways. Whether it’s Mark Green who has the Mardel’s book chain. But what he does with Bible translations and helping get Bibles translated into– there”s nearly 2,000 languages left that still don’t have a Bible in their own language. They don’t know God’s word, they don’t have access to God’s word. So, he’s helping fund that and the technology to make that available really rapidly.
And then when you take someone like Steve Green who has helped ministries for so many years, been so generous to so many ministries and helped so many good organizations across the country, but now the Bible museum. But that all came from daddy. It came from David Green and David put a legacy into those guys that is blessing the entire nation. It really is a great family. It’s a quality act, the whole family is.
One of the cool things, David, that I love about this book is you get kind of a behind the scenes. He and his wife both, their mindset of how they raised those kids to now be doing these things that you’re talking about. And as parents how they honored the Lord in that and some of the things they learned as they went along and they share in the book. It’s great learning lessons for– anybody that reads the book they’re going to be looking for probably business lessons out of this because they’re thinking David Green Hobby Lobby, but, man, they’re going to get a lot of parent lessons out of this as well.
Yeah, and that’s who these guys are. They are service oriented. Not in the sense of business, they”re service oriented because they’re Christians who believe in living out their faith. And so they serve in so many ways. I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with them so many projects where they’re wanting to say, “Hey, we live in Oklahoma City. Let’s help improve the city. Let’s help Oklahoma City become a character city.” And they got civic leaders, and educational leaders, and business leaders, involved in helping teach character traits across the entire city of Oklahoma.
A Service Mentality
And then they tried to get Oklahoma to become a character state tree. They were teaching things like honesty, and truth, and integrity, and all these great character traits – courage, loyalty. They’ve just got a service mentality not because it blesses their business, but it”s because what their faith requires. So, their faith is very genuine, very real.
And you’re right, Rick, you go through the book and you may think, “Well, he’s a business guy, it”s going to be business lessons.” They don’t compartmentalize their faith in that way. They let their faith show through in the way they raise their kids, and grandkids, and great grandkids. And the wisdom and nuggets that he has learned across the years, he shares those very openly.
There are things that benefit every person, any any level of life, whatever your activities are. You”re going to find things in this book that will go, “Wow”. It’s a real eyebrow raiser. You”ll go, “I”ve never thought of that. That’s really good.”So, it is chock full of very practical application wisdom and that comes from a family because that’s who this family is, that’s who they are.
It is a great example of just biblical application – both in business and in the family. Often we talk about that on the program, that being our perspective. And that’s what makes good government, it’s what makes good businesses, it”s what makes good family. It”s just simply applying the Bible to these areas of our life and making sure that we’re actually having application – not just theory.
David Green, he’s founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. He”s going to be with us when we come back. So, stay with us, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Leadership Training Program
Hey, friends! We’ve got a great program to share with you today. It”s the WallBuilders Leadership Training Program and it’s an opportunity for 18 to 25 year olds to come spend two weeks diving into the original documents we’re always talking about here on WallBuilders Live.
Tim, you’ve already been doing this a couple of summers and seen the results of young people coming to this program. We’re going to see more of them coming this year.
Yeah, Rick, it”s something that”s been cool to see the transformation with young people coming in. The emphasis, for us, largely is a pursuit of truth. We have a culture that doesn’t know what truth is. We don’t know what biblical truth is, or constitutional truth, or the American heritage that we have. And so we really dive into original documents and say, “Well, what did they actually write? What did they actually do? Not just what did somebody say, what is actually true, and the truth is what’s transformational.
Yeah, guys. This really is a remarkable opportunity. And for those who want to spend time with us and spend time in the original documents, this is a great program. So, if you’re from 18 to 25, or you know someone who’s 18 to 25, send them to sign up for one of our three sessions this summer at WallBuilders.com/leadershiptraining.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live. Our special guest today is David Green. He is the founder of Hobby Lobby and still the CEO today. David, great to have you, sir. Thanks for coming on.
It’s good to be here. Thank you.
Well, your new book, “Giving It All Away and Getting It Back Again”. A wealth of information. You”ve got a lot of golden nuggets in here. This isn’t just your life story, you’re really giving advice on the things you’ve learned through your life and passing that on to the next generation.
Giving People a God Story
Well, God has been really good to our family and so we wanted to really give people a God story, what God has done in our life, which has been great.
Well, a lot of people that may not have been familiar with your family, but knew about Hobby Lobby learned about your family through the lawsuit against the government over the healthcare mandates and forcing you guys to participate in abortion if you had followed that law. And your victory there was huge. We talked about it a lot on our program as you were going through that process. And so I want to spend a little bit of time on that, but there’s so much I want to try to hit from the book. So, we’re going to try to do a rapid fire here and there’s a couple of things maybe most hosts haven’t asked you about.
But I want to start with the section you have on legacy because you say something golden in there that I think our sort of immediate gratification, selfish, generation doesn’t get. You say, “We”ll be judged by how well the generation behind us does. Our lasting value will be measured by succession.” How did you come to that conclusion? Â You’ve been running this huge corporation. How did you decide, “Hey, it’s what my kids and grandkids do that really matters.”
I think I got that from my parents. My parents did not pass away wealthy, but they passed away with children that served God, loved the Lord, and was working in their lives to do things for the Lord. And so in the end– then I’ve seen situations where I see millionaires and billionaires when they pass, and not all of them of course, but so many, their legacy is what they have accumulated. And that’s not the legacy I think anyone of us want in our last days. We want a legacy of our family, and our marriage, and our children, and them serving the Lord, and not what we have accumulated.
It”s Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Your Legacy
So, to me that is so much important for all of us and it’s never too early to start thinking about your legacy.
Well, you talk about also an invisible legacy. Speaking of your parents, I love the story about your mom and how you would always tell her, “I”m manager now” or whatever you would accomplish. And she”d say– well, you tell the story, what would she always ring up and say to you when you told her about some accomplishment?
Yeah, no matter what happened– at several different times it came back at a different level, and it was, “What are you doing for the Lord?” So, she was good at knowing the difference between those things that are temporal and those things that are internal. And she wanted her children to do things that were not just temporal, but eternal. And so most of them, all but myself, went into ministry – pastors wife, pastors, and things of that nature, except myself. But I learned from that that I can also do things for the Lord here as a retailer as much as they can as pastors.
Well, and the business that you built, you and your family built, and Lord built through you, has now blessed so many ministries around the world. Not just in the U.S., but around the world. We’ve had Mark on to talk about some of the things that he’s doing. Of course had Steve on to talk about the Bible museum. You guys are impacting in a very big way. So I’d say if mom asked you today, “What have you done for the Lord lately?” I’d say Hobby Lobby and the Green family has done a lot for the Lord lately. Do you use that one on your grandkids and great grandkids now?
Talking About Eternal vs. Temporal
Well, I think they know without any question what’s important in our lives. We talk a lot about those things that are eternal versus temporal. So, I think they’re all knowing that God has put them here for a purpose. And what purpose does our life have if we haven’t done something that matters a thousand years from now? If it doesn’t matter in thousand years, we could ask ourselves, what is the purpose of my life? And so I think they understand that. Just like my mother made me understand that I had to do something besides just build a big business and create a lot of wealth.
Well, let’s talk about work ethic a little because you emphasize that quite a bit through the book. You talk about the legacy of work, that work is not a curse, that you need to earn your way. And I loved the story that you told about Fred Smith and the mom that said, “My son”s out of college and he’s just kind of waiting to see what the Lord wants for him.” And he said, “Well, is he working? Why is he eating if he’s not working?” We don’t we don’t teach work ethic very much anymore. It’s almost an entitlement mentality in our culture. How do you see us changing that?
Well, we do need to change it because there is an entitlement mentality out there. Not in everybody, of course, but there is that more than it should. We just have to teach them that God put us here to work. He put Adam and Eve here before the fall to tend the garden, to work. And I think when we’re not working is when we can get into a lot of trouble. We need to be working and doing something that is going to have some sort of long term positive in our lifetime. And sometimes that’s indirect. In my case it’s the retail that takes that into what our real ministry is and that is to do other things with the finances that we get.
But I tell my Gen3s, my grandkids, I said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, the Bible says do it with all the best you can and do it as unto the Lord.” And that’s what God has put us here to do good at whatever God is, wherever planted. If you’re flipping hamburgers, be the best hamburger flipper out there. Do it well and work as unto the Lord. So, hopefully we get that in our grandkids and our great grandkids that God has put us here to work. And so I plan on working as long as God gives me health because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do.
Where We Shouldn”t Be
You actually say in the book God didn’t put anybody here to just sit on a yacht all the time, we should–
I don’t think so, I don’t think that’s healthy. I don’t know how that that’s going to improve your character. Doing too much of that things that are just pleasure. Pleasure is fine, we all need a vacation, but I think sometimes too much pleasure is not exactly where we’re supposed to be.
Mr. Green, if you would, speak to our parents for a moment about that. You talk about how un-earned wealth is not even– is not healthy for a person, not good for a person. For parents that are trying to figure out, how do I–I want to go back to the old days of raising my kids to have a work ethic. What would you encourage them to do in terms of Â that balance between providing for them, but not making it so easy that they don’t learn that work ethic?
I think there’s a real balance there. I used to tell my kids the hardest thing for me to do is not to do for you. My boys needed, is this the right way, I don’t know, but you earn half, I”ll earn the other half. You go work, you show you’re going to work, for that car as much as me. Then I”ll come along halfway. Now, is that the perfect answer? I don’t know, but I think it worked for us.
But I think it’s so important that we don’t give our children so much that they don’t have to work. Now, maybe a lot of them could handle that. But if I had one grandchild out of all of the grandchildren I have and great grandchildren that I lost because I gave them wealth then I would wish that Hobby Lobby didn’t exist. So, I think that we can really hurt children with giving them more than what they need. So, we just have to be very, very, careful on our wealth.
Stewards, Not Owners
And that’s why we all signed off, every one of my grandkids signed off, that they can never touch this company. I can’t touch it, nor can we. And that wasn’t hard to come to because the Bible says that God owns everything. So we said, “Well, if God owns it we’re going to write off and say we’ll never touch it because He owns it and we’re going to be the stewards. So, our family stewards this company rather than own it.
Now we have to have it in our name, in trust, the ownership. But we can’t touch it because we’ve said we never will. We only get a salary. So, we feel like that we have set it up to where that if a grand kid wants an opportunity and a great grandkid, then we have the opportunity. But we don’t have an environment where that they can sell 5 percent of the company that we’ve given them and never work in their life. Now, maybe they could handle that, I don’t know. I’ve got great grandkids that haven’t been born yet and I don’t know if they could handle that. So, I don’t worry about that.
I tell people being a steward I have no concern. But being an owner I would have thousands of different “what ifs” – what if this, and what if that. So, we are glad that we are only stewards.
That”s power. Yeah, and I remember you saying that fits right in line with what you said even in the press conferences at the beginning of the lawsuit about, “It’s God’s company, it”s not mine. It’s God”s company and He built it and gave it to us.” And I know that you didn’t intend this as a parent book, but there is so much good parenting advice in here. So, let me ask one more thing about the parenting that you guys did. In your section, “Lions, Lambs and Monkeys”, you talk about how you were trying to mold Steve to be like you and God spoke to you and said, “He’s different and you need to train him and lead him, but don’t try to make him like you.” Tell that story a little bit.
We All Have a Bent
Well, I believe God has given us all a bent and we have to be very careful not to try to bend them the way we are. We need to really see how they”re bent and try to really encourage them in wherever God has put them and their bent. Of all my kids and grandkids they’re not all retailers. Some of them– I have more of them in ministry than I have in retail, so I really want to come along. Their parents are the same way.
Mark, Steve, we’re just wanting, and their wives, we”re just wanting to find out what God wants in their life. And really, a lot of that is up to them. It”s them, and the Lord, praying and finding out what God would have for their lives. Then we want to just promote them and encourage them in the way that we feel like God has bent them and be with them. And not try to fit them within whatever our desires are.
My desires might be that my two boys might follow me, but neither one will because they’re basically in ministry. And that’s the way the Lord has it and I’m going to just be fine with that. He will supply our needs.
Well, folks at home, get the book. You get the whole story about how that changed once David’s attitude changed towards Steve in that, Steve really blossomed as a result.
And last thing Mr. Green is this, the law suit itself, the great victory that you guys had there, that 5-4 decision. Blessed not only your employees and your company, but every business and employee in America now gets to enjoy that same freedom. Tell us a little bit about the family meeting. You go into detail in the in the book about it, but you were a little bit nervous going into that meeting to decide, are we going to take on this fight? Â Can you really fight city hall? You were going against the federal government on this.
1.3 Million Dollars Per Day
Well, we felt like because we knew that if we went there we could lose our company because they were going to charge us 1.3 million dollars a day if we didn’t follow their policies of providing this. And so we knew it was a time that we had to bring the entire family on and so we did. I wanted to ask the youngest first, I didn’t want to be an elephant in the room, what they thought. Because I had three generations there. Now, I felt like all the generations would have the same heart that they didn’t want to take life and it was that way.
And of course there was a lot of conversation – is there some other way? What can we do? But at the end there was no one that was willing to take and pay for someone’s prescriptions that we felt like, without any question, that God is the only one that’s ever created life. He’s a creator of life. And they were asking us to be– to end life. And so I was proud of my family that all of them said, “No, this is something that we have to do.”
We knew we didn’t know what the end result would be, but we knew that people would ask, “What if you’d hadn”t won?” And my answer to that has always been, “I know what we wouldn’t have done. We had made the decision that our family is not going to pay for prescriptions that could take life.” So, we thank God and we think we think all of those that prayed for us. We know that there was many millions of people, probably, that prayed for this case and we’re thankful that God delivered us.
It wasn’t a short battle either. It took some time, and there were some ups and downs. But in the book you talk about what Steve said at that meeting with regard to bringing up Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it’s very similar to that.
Right, exactly. Yeah, he was the one that really gave us a lot of strength with the scriptures that he gave. So, he provided a lot in that meeting.
Well, Mr. Green I sure appreciate your time, appreciate the blessing you’ve been to not only your employees and the people that you touched through Hobby Lobby, not only this legal battle, but the ministries, all the things you guys do. It’s just a blessing. But I really encourage parents to read this. There’s so much good in this book – it”s called, “Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again – The Way of Living Generously” by David Green.
Mr. Green, God bless you. Thanks for your time today.
Alright, God bless you. Appreciate what you’re doing.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Moment From America”s History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. In the minds of many today, Government is a purely secular institution and is not in any way to be joined to religious principles. The result is that too often our public policies are now enacted without any consideration of their spiritual consequences.
However, the Founding Fathers believed that even a political act should always be examined from a spiritual viewpoint. For example, in his inaugural address President George Washington declared, “We ought to be persuaded that the favorable smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
President George Washington believed that the blessings of heaven would reside on this nation only so long as its national policies embraced godly standards. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live. Back with David and Tim Barton now. Special thanks to David Green for joining us. The book title again, “Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again”.
David, Tim, just the wealth of information. Obviously in 10 minutes you can only hit on so much. Really encourage folks to get the book and dive into it. They will be blessed as a result and they’re giving us some great tools and golden nuggets out of it.
Yeah, Rick, there’s no doubt they will. I’m so glad that you were able to ask him the thoughts on parenting at the end. Specifically, the idea of hard work and what they do with their kids. And how they will partner with the young ones in their family, but–
A Great Balance
Yeah, what a cool idea. That was great balance. Because we tend to lean one way or the other, right. We give them too much or we say we’re not going to help you at all, you get to do it all. I love that. That was a great balance.
Well, it’s so interesting, too. In the midst of what they have done. Right. Whether we talk about the fact that they’ve kind of built this incredible Empire in the midst of Christian service with Hobby Lobby and all the things they’ve done. Now the Bible museum up in Washington D.C. and so many things their family has been involved in.
But everything that they’ve done has been oriented in service. And it reminds me of what Paul said in Acts, I think it”s chapter 20, where he was referring the people back to what Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” And this is a family that we look at them now and go, “Oh my gosh, this is such a blessed family.” But we certainly see the abundance in their life now, but the whole premise of their life was not to build up abundance, was not to build up wealth, it was to serve people.
Which, as you were talking to him, you just hear it coming out of him, right? He just wants to love and serve people–
–and that’s the whole thing he’s promoting. So, I have not read his book, although, after this interview I’m thinking I need to get on Amazon, I need to go find this thing right now. And certainly when you see someone of high character like that it’s something that, growing up, I had a man once tell me, “You need to find people that you want to be like and then learn how they got where they are.” So, when someone of his caliber has written a book and says, “Here’s what I did, here’s what I think, here’s why we do what we do.” This is such a great tool and resource for us to go to. But of course, the things he’s unfolding in the interview were even super fun to hear.
Work – Part of the Blessed Life
The other thing I thought was really good about what he”s saying and, Tim, you alluded to it. But it was the concept of work, a work ethic. And as I was listening to him, I know what the Bible says about work. The Bible is really pro work. Whether it be Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work is profitable.” Or he quoted the verse that you do everything with all your heart as unto the Lord. And so that hard work ethic.
But I had not thought about the fact that when God told Adam and Eve to work the garden, “I put you here to work My stuff”, that was before the curse. Work was something that was part of the blessed life. It was not something that came as a result of–
It wasn”t punishment, it was already there.
It was already there. God did that before sin entered the world. He said, “Look, I created you so that you could work. This is a really good thing.” And that’s why there’s so many good benefits from hard work and that’s why hard work is a good thing. Now, the difference is that after sin entered God says, “Well, now you”re going to have to work abd it’s going to be with briars and thorns and all. It’s going to be a little tougher now.”
But it’s not work that’s the bad thing. Work was part of what He wanted us to do before the curse came. I thought that’s a really, really, really, good point because I hear Christians say, “Well, I’m not going to tithe, that’s part of the law and I’m not in the law.” No, no, no. The tithe came before the laws of Moses ever came down. They came when Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek. Tithing is something that’s in the Bible without any law being there – that”s pre-law. And the same thing with work that’s pre-curse.
It”s About Posterity
Which, man, we need to teach that to our kids and our grandkids. Tim, what you were saying, and, Rick, what you’re saying about the partnership he created. The other thing that he said that I thought was really good was, “We will be judged by how well the generation behind us does.”
It’s not what we do it’s how well they do. And if we look at the next generation where they are we’ve got some work to do if we’re going to be judged in the right direction. But he”s exactly right. And it reminded me of several quotes by the Founding Fathers. John Adams said, “Posterity, you’ll never know how much it cost my generation to provide your freedom. I hope you don’t waste it.” And you get the same kind of thing from Mathias Burnett, he said, “Don’t let your children curse you for giving up rights God gave you.”
And so it was all about posterity. But most people today don’t think that way. And leaving them in a better shape than what we ourselves are. And that’s another good biblical view. So, great wisdom from David Green. Great book, everybody ought to get that and read it because of the nuggets of wisdom that are throughout that book.
Hobby Lobby Founder Shares Biblical Wisdom For Family And Business
Well, special thanks to David Green for joining us today. Thank you for listening today. You can help spread this good news and get others to enjoy this as well by going online and grabbing the link to this program at WallBuildersLive.com. Email it out to your friends and family, share it on Facebook, and Twitter, and Snapchat, and everything else, so that other people can get those golden nuggets of wisdom as well.
You can also come alongside us as a partner for our program. We”re a listener supported program, so you can actually contribute to help spread the word. You can do that at WallBuilders.com. We appreciate your help and appreciate you coming alongside us. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.