AN AMAZING FACT: John D. Rockefeller Sr. was strong and husky when small. He was raised a devout Christian but was determined early in life to earn money and drove himself to the limit. At age 33 he earned his first million dollars. At age 43 he controlled Standard Oil, the biggest company in the world. At age 53 he was the richest man on Earth and the world’s only billionaire.
Then he developed a sickness called “alopecia,” where the hair of his head dropped off, and his eyelashes and eyebrows disappeared. He became deeply depressed over his appearance, compounded by his constant stress, and looked like a shrunken mummy. His weekly income was one million dollars, but he digested only milk and crackers. He was so hated in Pennsylvania that he had to have bodyguards day and night. He could not sleep; he stopped smiling and enjoyed nothing in life.
The doctors predicted he would not live more than a year. Gleefully anticipating his demise, the newspapers had written his obituary in advance. Those sleepless nights set him thinking. A Christian friend told him if he did not begin to share his mounting wealth it would crush him like an avalanche. He realized with a new light that he “could not take one dime into the next world.” Money was not everything.
The next morning found him a new man. He began to help churches with his amassed wealth; the poor and needy were not overlooked. He established the Rockefeller Foundation, which funded medical research that led to the discovery of penicillin and other wonder drugs. John D. began to sleep well, eat, and enjoy life. The doctors had predicted he would not live over age 54. He died at age 98.
God understands the power of our thinking. When we focus on ourselves, we will become the most miserable of all people. But when we live to give, health will come into our lives. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Solomon, once the wealthiest man in the world, wrote this Bible verse. John D. Rockefeller discovered its truth.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:36-37