David Green is the largest evangelical benefactor in the world. Forbes magazine estimates that his net worth is about $4.5 billion and that he has given away upwards of $500 million over his lifetime.
Technically, Green and his family own 100% of the arts and crafts giant Hobby Lobby, with 520 superstores in 42 states. But in Green’s mind, God owns his business. Hobby Lobby gives half of its pretax earnings away every year to evangelical ministries, particularly Christian universities.
Green has given $10.5 million to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, $16.5 to Zion Bible College, and $70 million to Oral Roberts University, to name a few.“The Greens are Kingdom givers. . . . They consider it an honor; they consider it a mission,” said Dr. Mark Rutland, the new president of Oral Roberts University.
Green is also intent on getting the Bible into the hands of nonbelievers. He has financed the distribution of nearly 1.4 billion pieces of Gospel literature to people in more than 100 countries. He sponsors the YouVersion Bible app for mobile phones that offers Scripture in almost 300 different versions and 144 languages. The app has been downloaded already more than 50 million times.
Green is aware that fortunes come and go and that it is likely that Hobby Lobby won’t last forever. But for him, there’s something far more important than building a business. He wants to make a difference in people’s lives for eternity.
“Is that the end of life, making more money and building something?” Green asks Forbes, answer already in hand. “For me, I want to know that I have affected people for eternity. I believe I am. I believe once someone knows Christ as their personal savior, I’ve affected eternity. I matter 10 billion years from now.”
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