I read the biography of a great Christian businessman named Herny Crowell, the “Cereal Tycoon.” He founded the Quaker Oats Company. I will not tell you he became rich because he gave 70 percent of his income to God. He became rich because of his good karma, born of his past “righteous” action. He gave in previous lives. But more importantly, what kind of a man was he? That is why I read the book. I wanted to know what kind of a man is able to live in a ruthless, heartless business environment and still live a true Christian life. His acts of charity, honesty, and selfless service made him a Christ-like man. He was truly happy! The manner in which he acted in life gave him immeasurable joy. This is what giving is about! It’s important to hold an attitude of gratitude and selfless service in all that we do. This spirit is what makes us want to give all we have and all we are to God.
During the late 1800’s greed was as rampant as it is now. This was the age of forming monopolies and trusts. Some eager Wall Street investors had purchased a good portion of Quaker Oats stocks, giving them a large say in how the company should be run. They wanted to form a cereal food monopoly using Henry’s company as a launching point. Things came to a head at a Quaker Oats stockholders meeting, which included the greedy Wall Street shareholders. They wanted to have the assembled stockholders vote to create a cereal monopoly. The shareholders of Quaker Oats Co. were all for it; it would mean more return on their investment. The greedy larger block of shareholders had all the votes they needed.
Henry spoke to the audience about the fact that forming a monopoly was immoral and unethical. He stated that they would eat up a tremendous amount of capitol in legal fees because the government was currently putting forth a strong effort to break up large trusts. The spokesman for the avaricious stockholders then had his turn to address the audience. He could easily have put the issue to a vote. For some inexplicable reason he tabled the issue—so no vote was taken that day on the cereal monopoly issue.
Henry’s life of ceaseless dedication to Christ and His virtues gave Henry the power to overcome tremendous odds and gradually change the hearts of the stockholders. Henry was re-elected president and he eventually bought back all the company’s stock at a fair price. Henry never wavered from righteousness in his business dealings. In this crazy world we live in, it is easy to think we can’t make a difference. The life of Henry Crowell and countless others like him prove that one person can and does make a difference. In this life, let us all strive to be that kind of person.
Joy to you!
For Ananda’s “Thank You, God” tithing