If there is any story that stands out in the halls of business: it’s the story of John D. Rockefeller
Before Jeff Bezos He was the richest American ever.
And yet some historians will paint him as simply a ruthless, greedy businessman. They say, “There’s nothing to learn from such a man.”
And they are right.
Or are they?
The facts are this:
- He was a devoted father.
- A devoted husband.
- His “monopoly” brought order to an industry full of discord.
- He loved the Lord and his philanthropy was birthed out of that love
In this post we’re going to delve into the lessons a future millionaire could learn from this man.
To make this easier I created this bookmark for you:
- He Understood the Importance of Money
- He Kept His Mind of Wealth
- He Learned To Give Early
- He Never Gave Up
- He Made Money His Slave
He Understood the Importance of Money
As a young man John D. Rockefeller had the financial “plan” for his life:
The Bible says,
“A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.”Ecclesiastes 10:19 (KJV)
Most people are taught that money is a necessary evil. They say,
“Yeah we need it but it’s not THAT important!”
That is COMPLETELY wrong!
This “money isn’t everything” philosophy has led to some terrible statistics:
- 42% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck., including 25% of those earning more than $100,000 per year.
- 29% of American workers have less than $1,000 in savings.
- Half have less than one month’s income saved.
- The personal savings rate in 2014 was just 4.4%, meaning that out of every $1,000 earned, the average American spent all but $44.
- Millennials have a savings rate of negative 2%, thanks to factors like high student loan debt and skyrocketing rent prices.
- Approximately 10 million U.S. households have no bank account whatsoever.
- The average American household has total debt of $117,951.
- There are nearly 1.9 billion active credit card accounts in the U.S., split among 199.8 million cardholders. That’s nearly 10 per consumer. Keep in mind that this figure includes corporate credit cards, as well as personal.
- Total U.S. credit card debt is $793.1 billion.
- Americans spent $70 billion playing the lottery in 2014. That’s about $300 per adult.
And yes money is still the LEADING cause of friction in marriages.
Money is extremely important. Those like Rockefeller,who value its importance tend to have to more of it. While those who don’t don’t.
Steve Siebold–who interviewed over 1,200 millionaires over the last 34 years–said this:
Rockefeller wanted options for his life and the life of his family. He understood those options came with wealth.
He Kept His Mind on Wealth
When you read the accounts of people who knew John D. Rockefeller you hear different things: charming, aloof, good-natured, and etc
The one thing the majority did say was that he was prosperity minded. He thought about wealth consistently.
He studied the habits of succesful businesspeople. In fact, his biographer said this:
In addition to studying successful business people, he studied beautiful neighborhoods and homes. He kept his mind on abundance even when he dealt with periods of lack.
The Bible says,
Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
The mind is an interesting machine. It goes in the direction of the thing focused on:
- If it goes in the direction of God, it has more Godly thoughts, and the person has a Godly life.
- If it goes in the direction of fitness, it has more fit thoughts, and the person tends to be more fit.
- If it goes in the direction of poverty, it has thoughts of lack, and that person tends to be more poverty stricken.
- But if it goes in the direction of wealth, abundance, and affluence….
….you get the point!
It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, if you want wealth keep your mind focused on wealth. Read books on wealth, find wealthy people, thank God in advance for wealth, meditate on Scriptures dealing with wealth, and etc.
Soon enough your wealth will find you.
He Learned to Give Early
Over time Rockefeller’s philanthropy equated to hundreds of millions of dollars (billion adjusted for inflation). But he learned this by giving from an early age.
His giving began with his first job as a clerk at age 16. By the time he was twenty, his giving exceeded 10% percent of his income. According to his biographer:
Rockefeller was always under the belief his success was divinely inspired. He said, quite emphatically:
Why did God single him out for stupendous wealth? He believed it was because he was a good steward.
In his seventies he said:
In this culture giving (or tithing) is considered a hoax, a con, and a joke. There is a never ending argument about its merits: one group for, and another group against.
In Jewish culture though it’s a little different.
In Jewish culture giving (or tithing) is considered an ancient formula for becoming wealthy. In the Talmud it says:
“Aser bedevil shetisasher” or “Tithe so that you will become rich”Taanit 91
In other words, tithing is a partnership between the giver and God. The giver partners with God in helping the world, God partners with the giver in business affairs.
In fact, when the Bible speaks about the tithe it uses the Hebrew word “maaser”(pronounced mah-as-ayr‘).
It’s used 32 times in the Old Testament.
English is read left to right, Hebrew is read right to left.
The Hebrew language is a language of root words. Prefixes and suffixes are added to build on the meaning of the root word.
So in this word the first letter mem (מ) conveys this meaning:
Changing a verb into the noun of that word.
For example: adding mem “to preach” (verb) turns it into “preacher” (noun).
Now taking away mem (מ) from “maaser” we’re left with “aser” which means rich.
So another way of interpreting
“The rich is in the tithe.”
Or with “maaser”:
“The one tithing becomes rich.”
But check this out:
I’m not suggesting that if you tithe: someone is going to pay off your debt, a check is coming in the mail, or you’ll be a millionaire overnight.
Not at all.
I AM saying that there is story after story of affluent people who testify to the power of giving. So future millionaire or just starting out learn to give now.
He Never Gave Up
There was one thing that separated Rockefeller from the crowd: his bulldog tenacity.
He rarely EVER gave up!
One instance was when he was looking for work.
His father was a womanizer who left his family for lengthy periods of time. It was on such a long absence that John D. decided to forgo college and look for work.
This job search began in Cleveland in August of 1855.
He began by looking through the city directory for bigger businesses with high credit ratings. According to him
Every morning he left at 8am and didn’t return till late in the afternoon. He did this for six weeks. SIX DAYS A WEEK. His feet grew sore from the trek but he refused to give up.
Another person might have been discouraged but Rockefeller grew more determined with rejection.
Then on September 26, 1855 he walked into the offices of Hewitt and Tuttle–merchants and produce shippers–and got a job as an assistant bookkeeper.
For the rest of his life Rockefeller honored September 26th as “Job Day.”
There is something about a persistent spirit that makes God smile. I mean someone who will kick, claw, scratch, persist, and encourage themselves in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
Dont get me wrong there ARE times when all we can do is stand still and look to Him for help. But then there are those OTHER times when He opens doors as we move forward:
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!’Exodus 14:15 (The Living bible)
Future Millionaire – Learn to Be Industriousnes
The Bible says,
Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.Ephesians 4:28 (AMPC)
People like Rockefeller–who achieve anything worthwhile–know the value of industriousness. These are the people who don’t wait for something to happen–they make it happen.
In fact, when Jesus spoke about the resourcefulness of a manager He said:
Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.Luke 16:8-9 MSG
. Truett Cathy-founder of Chick-Fil-A–knew the value of industriousness. When he and his brother decided to open their first restaurant they underestimated the cost of the project. But with each problem they found creative answers:
- A shortage of nails. They solved this problem by going to small towns where nails could be found and by strengthening bent nails.
- A shortage of lumber. They solved this problem by finding scrap wood from torn-down buildings.
- A lack of reasonably priced restaurant equipment. They purchased used equipment from restaurants that had gone out of business.
- A shortage of reasonably priced skilled labor. They did much of the construction themselves. This involved learning how to hang sheet rock and dig footings
- A shortage of some critical items, particularly meat. They solved this by asking for help for from one of the local large restaurants. That restaurant had privileged access to meat suppliers and agreed to purchase meat for the Cathy brothers.
This industriousness paid off to the tune of $10.8 billion in sales in 2018.
The bottom line is this:
Do you want “Rockefeller success?”
Don’t have enough to work with? Even better.
Learn to never give up!
He Made Money His Slave
He knew from early on that money was important. But he also knew he wanted to be the master of money– not its servant.
By the time he was 12 he had saved $50, about $1400 in today’s money. He then loaned a farmer the $50 at 7% interest. At the end of the year he collected $3.50 with absolutely no work. He later said,
Rockefeller was a hard worker. When he worked as a bookkeeper he would sometimes put in 12 hour days. But even while he was an ordinary laborer he would trade his own money in different futures and commodities.
In other words, he was always looking for ways to put his money to work.
When Jesus spoke about good stewardship it wasn’t just about handling money…it was about multiplying money:
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, ‘Occupy till I come.’Luke 19:13 KJV
That Greek word “occupy” has different meanings:
- “Gain by business trading.”
- “Busily engaged in making trades.”
- “Increase by trading.”
It implies active, detailed trading that “buys right” and then knows just when to exchange.
So in other words:
- “Gain by business trading” till I come.
- “Be busily engaged in making trades” till I come.
- “Increase by trading till I come.
Another thing about John D. Rockefeller was He HATED waste of any kind.
Rockefeller had a love of numbers and accounting, so early on he decided to apply the same accounting to his own life. He paid a dime for a small red book, called it Ledger A, and recorded all receipts and expenditures. He tracked and was careful not to waste a dime.
This habit of tracking every penny aided him well in his business career.
One particular instance is when he inspected a Standard Oil plant in NY that filled and sealed five-gallon tin cans of kerosene for export. After watching a machine solder caps to the cans, he asked the resident expert how many drops of solder was used.
The expert replied, “Forty.”
Rockefeller replied, “Would you mind having some sealed with thirty-eight and let me know?”
When they used thirty-eight drops there was a leak, but not at thirty-nine. So thirty-nine became the standard. It had a tremendous impact. According to Rockefeller,
Now it’s your Turn
As a future millionaire which of these lessons are you going to implement today?
Are you going to focus more on wealth?
Are you going to strengthen your never-ever-give-up muscles?
Or maybe you’re going to start tracking your money like John D. Rockefeller.
Either way let me know by leaving a comment below.