My wife Dianna and I went for a drive through northwest Missouri. We drove through the little town of Hamilton and stopped at an antique store and looked around. Just before leaving town we saw one car in front of the local Library. Inside the Library was a museum of their famous one time resident. We were impressed with all the achievements He had made over His life time. He has been a hero of mine for years yet I must say it is through other people’s eyes I formed that opinion.
As we drove off I remembered the multiple sermons I have heard on tithing and how J. C. Penny had always given the tithe and that had taken Him to the top of American business men. I had few other thoughts also.
DID YOU KNOW that J. C. did not stand for Jesus Christ? He did not have more money than God
DID YOU KNOW that J. C. stand for James Cash? That is James Cash Penny is that ironic prophetic or just humorous.
DID YOU KNOW James Cash Penny was a member of the Masonic Lodge? I was surprised that, a man that was so open with Giving to the Lord was so secret about things that went on behind the doors of the Blue Lodge. He must have forgot the old song “It is no secret what God can do. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you. With arms wide open, He’ll pardon you. It is no secret what God can do.”
One more thing I was surprised with the lack of pictures of Him helping widows and orphans and the poor of the earth……. He himself went through the great depression but going through it as a millionaire looks different than if He would have still been running the little store in Hamilton. Take a closer look and you’ll find at the age of 55 he lost it all. He had lost His first wife to Pneumonia in 1910 and His friend Francis Burgette Short, suggested that philanthropy might be a way to ease his pain. In 1924 He lost His second wife. In the year that followed, he established the J. C. Penney Foundation in His wife Mary’s memory. The Foundation aided such groups as adoption agencies, homeless shelters, youth clubs, vocational schools, libraries, family guidance centers, missionary projects, peace organizations, and health clinics. The combination of His strong belief in the Golden Rule and giving credit during the great depression thinking He would eventually be paid back. The depression was so great that His kindness bankrupted Him but the principal is godly and He rebuilt the empire and continued living and giving by the golden rule.
Serving the poor and needy is great but serving them to ease your pain is not serving them but you. Whether we serve from gilt or pain it can never compare to serving out of Love. J. C. was for sure a loving man, but I ponder what the lasting effects of His life could have been had He refused to join the lodge and used His philanthropies from a healed heart fully given to serving completely from the motive of LOVE.
In an hour of church history when Marketplace Christianity is so vital let us learn these lessons.
The Golden Rule is great but complete obedience greater
Serve out of love not pain. If you are consumed by loss and pain let Jesus heal you up and let servitude flow from there.
Do not compromise by joining organizations or brotherhoods to move up the business ladder if you are, its not to late, the oath can be broken in Jesus name your neck and bowels are safe. You then can serve with bowels of mercy.
KJV Col 3 12-17 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity [LOVE], which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
from verse 14 Charity strongs #26 NOUN ajgavph = Agape websters 1607 Late Latin, from Greek agapē, literally, love
Below is a short Biography of the Life of J. C. Penny
J.C. Penney, real name James Cash Penney, Jr. He was born in Caldwell County, Missouri; He was the son of James Cash Penney, Sr., a primitive Baptist minister, and Mary Frances Paxton. J C was three years old when his family moved to Hamilton Missouri.
Penney graduated from Hamilton Public High School in 1893. He worked the family farm for couple years until going to work for a local Hamilton merchant. The dry goods store was called J.M. Hale & Bros. Penney left Missouri for the drier climate of Colorado. In 1898, he purchased a shop in Longmont. It failed when He did not lower His moral standard on liquor. He then went to work at the Golden Rule Store, a Longmont dry goods and clothing store. They became a buying syndication buying larger quantities giving the ability to pass on lower prices. He eventually became a partner in the store. The small beginning became the world famous J. C. Penny Retail chain.
During the 1920s they began developing their own brand. By 1929 they had become the largest dry goods retailer in America. Connected to their success was the fact they offered profit-sharing contracts with their managers. Because He shared His wealth J. C. became known as “The Man with a Thousand Partners.” J. C. lived by the golden rule after retirement He stayed a vital part of the business but began to speak and write about His Christian faith and moral principles that took Him to His destiny. He retired and used His money and influence in His new life of philanthropy.