The first person to reach the status of a billionaire was a man who knew how to set goals. He tailored every decision he made, attitude, and relationship to create his power and wealth. At the age of 23, he had become a millionaire and, by age 50, a billionaire. But three years later, at 53, he became ill. His entire body became racked with pain, and he lost all of his hair. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, “He could not sleep, would not smile, and nothing in life meant anything to him.” His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year.
The year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death, he awoke one morning with vague remembrances of a dream but knew it had to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in control of his own life. He called for his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research, and Christian missionary work.
On that day, John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. The list of findings resulting from his newfound charitable focus is striking. His new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis, and diphtheria. Perhaps the most fantastic part of Rockefeller’s story is when he began to give back a portion of all he had earned; his body began to heal! He was told he would die at the age of 53, but when he started the quest of generosity, he lived a long life of 98.
Rockefeller learned and experienced the blessing and miracle-working biblical principle, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Malachi is 3:10-12 NLT).
Obedience to God leads to biblical blessings!
Dr. Steven M. Lennertz
Eagle Ridge Church
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