This weeks "thought" comes to you from a book I picked up at a yard sale a few weeks back. It's called, "God's Little Lessons on Life for Dad." No author is mentioned, just the publisher - Honor Books, Tulsa Oklahoma.
It is filled with encouraging thoughts for dads. This one has to do with restoration. It has to do with learning lessons the hard way, needing to be brought low to be lifted up, and realizing its never too late to change. "As long as there's breath," as the old saying goes, "there's hope." Enjoy.
"Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored;
renew our days as of old." Lamentations 5:21
"J. C. Penny (James Cash Penny, son of a Baptist minister and founder of the chain of stores that bear his name) worked many years to become a financial success before a crisis changed his life. "When I worked for six dollars a week at Joslin's Dry Goods Store back in Denver," he recalled, "it was my ambition to be worth one hundred thousand dollars. When I reached that goal (by 1913) I felt a certain temporary satisfaction, but it soon wore off and my sights were set on becoming worth a million dollars (a goal he achieved in 1924)."
Penny and his wife worked hard to expand the business -- so hard that one day Mrs. Penny became ill and developed pneumonia, which claimed her life. "When she died," he said, "my world crashed about me. What had money meant to my wife? I felt mocked by life, even by God Himself."
Several more fiery trials ensued (including the Great Depression), and soon J. C. Penny was financially ruined and in deep emotional distress. At this point, he began to acknowledge his self-centered nature and his idolatry of money, and he experienced a spiritual conversion.
"When I was brought to humility and the knowledge of dependence on God, it was forthcoming and a light illumined my being."
$100,000. $1,000,000. The death of a loved one. Sometimes it takes tragedy, not success, to restore us to the divine image in which we were created."
Penny's conversion surrounded the loss of all his personal wealth due to the stock market crash of 1929. When the financial setbacks took a toll on his health, he checked himself into the Battle Creek Sanitarium for treatment.
There in the hospital's chapel he heard someone sing the hymn, "God Will Take Care of You." He repented, turned in faith to Christ, and became a professedly "born-again" Christian.
He lived to be 95 years old, dying in February of 1971. He was involved with the founding of the University of Miami (being on its board from 1926-1930), started a group called 40Plus which helped unemployed managers and executives, and in 1954 started the James C. Penny Foundation for charitable giving.
It was crisis, struggle, emotional pain, and the loss of nearly everything which God used to turn his life around. As many can testify, the Lord's gifts often come in the most unusual and unexpected of packages.
Blessings on your day, Pastor Jeff