Why R. G. LeTourneau Gave 90 Percent
If you’ve ever been part of a church fund-raising campaign, you’ve likely heard the name R.G. LeTourneau. His story of giving is the stuff capital campaigns are made of. However, the story of why he and his wife Evelyn chose to give away 90 percent of their wealth — and the life-changing decision that prompted it — is rarely told.
LeTourneau was one of the more unlikely leaders of 20th century industry. From humble beginnings and a 7th grade education, he taught himself engineering and eventually built a manufacturing empire. His earthmoving machines helped win WWII and construct the highway infrastructure of modern America. By the end of his life he held more than 300 patents.
He had also become one of the leading spokespersons in the lay-led faith and work movement.
The decision to give away 90 percent of his personal income and stock in the company was the result of a previous decision — made when he was 30 and deeply in debt — to make God His business partner. Chastised by his missionary sister to get serious about serving God, LeTourneau was confused. Like most people, he believed that sincere dedication to God required that he become a preacher, an evangelist, or a missionary. He attended a revival meeting at church and gave in.
Thinking he was headed to the mission field, he sought guidance from his pastor. After praying together, his pastor said, “You know Brother LeTourneau, God needs businessmen as well as preachers and missionaries.” LeTourneau responded, “All right, if that's what God wants me to be, I'll try to be His businessman.”
LeTourneau took his business partnership with God seriously, although he felt like God was getting “a sorry specimen as a partner.” When financial success came years later, he believed this made him a debtor to God as well as his fellowman. His commitment to give away so much of his wealth was not a flash of generosity as much as a logical progression from his earlier decision to make God his business partner.
When people undersstand that their work matters to God and recognize that He is their business partner, they become receptive to tithing and LeTourneau's perspective: “The question is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”
What would it mean if you recognized that God is your business partner? How do you view money: as a measurement of your worth or a tool for serving God and others?
Find more content like this in Strive.
- Brian Dodd published the blogpost 17 Practices Of Highly Successful Leaders: Little League head coach Dave Belisle.
- John Peterson published the blogpost You Don’t Have to Be Retired to Rest and Enjoy Life.
- Kelley Mathews published the article 14 Ways for Christian Parents to Teach Kids about Atheism.
- George Bullard published the blogpost Can Missional Congregations Outrun Their Supply Lines?.
- Kelley Mathews published the article When Your House is Dirty and Your Kids are Screaming, Why Care About Ferguson?.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: What if Michael Bay had Directed "UP.".
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost Watch: Capital Kings new music video and single ‘Fireblazin’.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost ‘…I remember going to church and getting angry’ – E! News Giuliana Rancic.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost Stream Thousand Foot Krutch’s new album ‘OXYGEN:INHALE’ in its entirety.
- Audra Jennings published the blogpost In Perfect Time by @SarahSundin | Enter to win a Kindle HDX and a set of books!.
- Kelley Mathews published the article Four Truths to Hold Onto When Family Members Don’t Change.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Mom Comes Up With An app That Locks Her Kids’ Phones Until They Call Her Back.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Teen Siblings Create App to Monitor Police Activity.
- Courtney Rowland published the blogpost Tomato and Corn Chopped Salad with Cilantro Ranch Dressing.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost How to Lead and Leverage the Opportunities in Difficult Times.
- Mike Mobley published the blogpost Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Summit, SEBTS, & Bridgehaven Partner to Offer Biblical Counseling Certificate.
- Jonathan Pearson published the blogpost 3 Lessons About Life From the Big Bang Theory TV Show.
- Adam Smith published the blogpost The 13-Step Plan to Run a World-Class Bad Meeting – Glenn Brooke.
- solomon david published the blogpost Guide to WordPress Affiliate Store Development With Different Methods.