Guest blog post on Bill Gates and David Green

Turning the blog over today to the Rev. Jim Driskell of First St Johns Lutheran Church in downtown York.

He writes an insightful piece on philanthropy. Thanks to Pastor Jim for sending it.

SAVED BY WHAT YOU DO? OR WHO YOU ARE IN JESUS
(Bill Gates vs David Green)

I know, I’m probably getting obnoxious with this discussion line, but I think this is something we all get caught up in, especially when we are so driven in your work day in and day out, driven by what we do, what we’ve accomplished, that we let that affect our relationship with Jesus.

Bill Gates, you’ve probably heard of him, if not perhaps you need to get out of your cave more often. Anyway, Bill Gates has given to charity the most of anyone, ever. To wit, $28 billion (yes that’s with a “b”).

No doubt our work world is all about what we do, not who we are. Gates is putting his money to great work, no doubt. However we start to wonder what is the motivation.

He does great things, but isn’t it, it’s all about me? Hey I want the world to remember me, maybe even, I can save the world, if I just give enough money? I have to wonder with some of these people who have his enormous amount of power, resources, prestige, influence if they often don’t come with something of a Messianic complex.

I’m not saying that to be pejorative, but so much in terms of it is who, what, you are that drives what you do.

In contrast is Mr David Green, Mr Green comes in at a net worth of $4.5 billion, less than Mr Gates, but I’m sure he’s able to make ends meet. Mr. Green is founder, CEO of “Hobby Lobby” certainly a little less hot than Microsoft, but obviously still not too shabby.

Mr Green is known in the evangelical community, not widely but by those who know and many have benefited from Mr Green’s support, which makes him the biggest giver to evangelical efforts.

I’m not saying that Mr. Green may have some suspect issues, for example, “I think God has blessed us because we have given,”… Now of course many have given, I doubt that any of you reading this have been blessed to the extent that Mr. Green has.

We, again, don’t want it to be an issue of our efforts or our good intentions but solely about what God is doing, what is God’s plan. He does acknowledge that his efforts have not always been pristine.

He chalked up one difficult period in his company to his pride. He acknowledged that he had to get rid of it, that maybe God was chastising him for a pride issue.

On the plus side, he does walk his talk, in his hundreds of millions that go to support ministries, and 90% of the company will go to ministries after his death. Stores are closed on Sundays, and yes I think that’s important.

Retail is getting out of control, people are working ridiculous hours, are away from family so much, has already made Sundays at least 9-5 and are now encroaching on Thanksgiving. Used to be retailers opened at midnight or later on “Black Friday”, now it’s up to 5pm on Thanksgiving. Come on guys, when do we all get a break?

But of course, don’t want to give up the revenue, which effectively Mr. Green, Mr Truett of Chick-fil-A, give up in order to assure that employees have at least one day to be with family.

Mr Green also “keeps four chaplains on the payroll, and offers a free health clinic at their corporate headquarters.”

The part that really struck me, and believe me I’ve had my share of minimum wage jobs, “…Green has raised the minimum wage for full-time employees a dollar each ear since 2009 – bringing it up to $13 per hour – and doesn’t expect to slow down.”

He also actively witnesses to his faith: “From his perspective, it’s only natural: ‘God tells us to go forth into the world and teach the Gospel to every creature.

He doesn’t say skim from your employees to do that.’”
God bless him, and he doesn’t make a spectacle of himself. I do see a little “works-righteousness” there, but I think he’s on the right course.

So let’s discuss, “Coffee-Break Bible Study” at the Green Bean Coffee Co, corner of W King and Beaver Sts, downtown York, park right behind the church and walk about 5 doors east and we start at 10am.

( quotes from Article by Brian Solomon in Forbes Magazine Oct 8, 2012 issue pp 117 – 126)

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to Guest blog post on Bill Gates and David Green

  1. Jim Driskell says:

    Thanks for the opportunity John and on Wednesday mornings at the Green Bean Coffee Co at 10am I try to get folks together to discuss their life in Jesus in their daily work world. Please come on down and also please let me know if you are otherwise interested. I think that this is an important ministry, too often we leave “the Jesus stuff” for Sunday morning, when Jesus is the Lord of our live 24/7. God bless.

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