Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12).
Our Lord gave us the Golden Rule: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12, NIV). The man whose name became synonymous with doing business according to the words of our Lord and the principles of the Golden Rule was born on September 16, 1875 on a small farm outside Hamilton, Missouri.
J.C. Penney showed signs of becoming a merchant as early as age eight, when his father informed him that from then on he would have to buy his own clothing. He earned his money by doing errands and odd jobs. He later used the money he earned to raise pigs for sale. This began Penney's career as an entrepreneur.
Penney opened his first retail store, called the Golden Rule Store, in partnership with two other merchants, who operated a chain of Golden Rule stores. Penney eventually went on to manage two more stores and bought the merchants' interest in the business, thereby launching his own stores. During the 1920s a new store was opened at the rate of one every three days.
To Penney, the name Golden Rule represented more than a marketing strategy. It represented his deep philosophical and religious beliefs learned from his father, a Baptist minister. As an expression of the Golden Rule, he insisted on offering customers quality merchandise at the lowest possible prices. Eventually the Golden Rule name was phased out and the stores were named JCPenney.
Penney was a tireless worker and traveler. During one 18-month period in 1960-1961, at age 85, he visited 67 stores and logged over 80,000 miles by airplane, train, and automobile. As a world traveler, Penney had passage booked on the Titanic's second voyage.
Penney was also one of this century's great agriculturists. He owned farms in several states including a vast 120,000-acre agricultural cooperative near Jacksonville, Florida called Penney Farms. In 1926, Penney founded the Memorial Home Community at Penney Farms as a home for retired ministers, missionaries, and full-time religious workers.
For many years, Penney was active in a church layman's movement and made many appearances before churches and laymen's groups stressing the importance of applying the Golden Rule to the everyday tasks of business.
I knew and greatly admired Mr. Penney as a gracious friend and beloved brother in Christ. Thank God for J. C. Penney's faithfulness in applying the Lord's words. He is a Christian example for all business people to follow.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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