Celebrating the Green Family and the 50th Anniversary of Hobby Lobby - Part 2 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson. And you're listening to Family Talk, a listener-supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Well, welcome back to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, where we bring you the voice you trust for the family you love. I'm Roger Marsh, and I'm excited to introduce the second half of Dr. Tim Clinton's recent conversation with David and Steve Green, of Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts retailer with stores in all 48 of the continental United States.

Hobby Lobby is celebrating its 50th anniversary, this year. And we couldn't think of a better way to honor the impactful and ongoing legacy of the Green family, than to have David and Steve Green join us, here, on Family Talk, to share their story, as well as their hearts.

David Green is the Founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. In 2013, David was the honored recipient of the World Changer Award. He is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient and a lifetime member of the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. David is married to Barbara, and they have three grown children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well. David Green has authored two important books. The first is titled More Than a Hobby: How a $600 Start-Up Became America's Home & Crafts Superstore. He also wrote the book called, Giving it All Away ... and Getting it All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

Steve Green is one of David's children, and serves as the President of Hobby Lobby. He's also the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Museum of the Bible, in Washington, D.C. Steve has authored four books, including Faith in America, The Bible in America, and This Dangerous Book. Steve and his wife, Jackie, have six children and six grand-children. Here, now, is part two of Dr. Tim Clinton's uplifting conversation with David and Steve Green, of Hobby Lobby, right here, on Family Talk.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And we're coming to you from Oklahoma City, where we are on the campus of Hobby Lobby. What an amazing breathtaking place. And God is certainly in here. Yesterday, we talked a lot about the early days of Hobby Lobby, and the seeds of faith, and family, So much more, that set the table for this work to develop and to flourish.

I saw a quote over the fireplace, in here, that caught my eye. I think it's a CT Studd quote that says, "Only one life, 'twill soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last." I think that's a pretty strong statement at Hobby Lobby. Isn't it?

David Green: You know, I think it's strong for Hobby Lobby. And I think it's also strong for our family. That was, in our home, when I was growing up as a preacher's kid... And that my parents'... That was their attitude, not just that saying. But their lives were about that, that our life is like a vapor. Sometimes I tell people, "You know, we all have two lives, a vapor life and eternal life. So what do you want to spend most time on?" You know? And that's what we want to spend most time on lives is that your eternal life.

Vapor life, we spend time there providing water for the homeless, all these sort of things. But it's so important for us to know that our life is short. It goes back to what I've said earlier. And that is, there's only two things that's eternal. And that's God's word and man's soul. So, sometimes, I know that I got that from my parents, things that are eternal versus temporal.

Dr. Tim Clinton: One thing I'm going to walk away from here with, in my heart, is the significance of family, how you have pulled generations together. I've often heard Dr. Dobson say this. "The only thing you can take with you to heaven is your family, your loved ones." And, Steve, that's what it's all about. Isn't it?

Steve Green: It is. And I remember, when I got married and we were starting to have our kids and growing a family, that the idea that our most important ministry, our very first calling that God has given to me and my wife is to raise godly generations. And my focus needs to be there, first. We have had a lot of opportunities within the business to be successful, to be involved in ministry. But, more important, the priority needs to be my family.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And, as a family, you guys are so firm, in your commitment to Christ and your faith, that you were not afraid to take a stand, even if it was going to cost you everything. David, I'd like you to take us back for a moment to the Religious Liberty Infringement challenge, that came with the Affordable Care Act, and what happened.

David Green: Yeah. Our attorneys told me that, in our insurance policies, when we re-upped our policy and insurance, that, in that, would have to be four prescriptions that would actually take life. You know, we believe life begins at conception. So we knew that we couldn't do that. And it had already been said that there would be a penalty. And, based on the number of employees that we had, we did the math on that. So, had we not provided these contraceptives, it would've cost us $1.3 Million a day. That was the penalty. So that's where we were. And we were either going to have to provide these four prescriptions that would take life, or we would pay 1.3. And that's where we were.

So we brought the family together, because... There's four generations now. But we brought in three generations, everybody that was 16 and older. And we just said, "Here's where we are, and what should we do?" And it was really great to know that all three generations said, "We're not going to take life, under any circumstances."

Dr. Tim Clinton: And I know we're mentioning this. But, Steve, I don't think people probably understand the seriousness of this challenge to you all. And, in that moment, what was going on in your mind? I mean, I'd be up at two and three in the morning, wanting to throw up trying to figure out, what are we going to do?

Steve Green: Yeah. Well, and the serious implications of this decision, that the fines were not sustainable, that was part of the discussion. And what can we do? But part of the discussion, as well, was what were the options if we were to draw the line in the sand and say, "We will not be a part of taking life. So we have to do it God's way. We're only stewards. And we believe God would not want us to be a part of taking life. That's the decision." We were unanimous. And we will just trust God for whatever the outcome is. But, whatever the outcome, we know we were in good hands.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You guys became front and center. I mean, every tabloid out there, everything, was talking about Hobby Lobby. I know Dr. Dobson and the James Dobson Family Institute got on board with their own lawsuit, coming at this whole thing. And he took a bold stand. And I'm like, "Wow." But I'm thinking of the three Hebrew children and their statement, "Our God, Whom we serve is able to deliver us." And then He does it?

David Green: He does it. We had a big highway sign across the street, huge highway sign. And on it, it said, "Our God..." It said that exact same, the thing. And I'm always sorry that I didn't put, "But, if not," because we had already decided, but if not, we're not going to take life, under any circumstances.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I'm looking at a picture in the room we're in. It looks to me like you're on the steps of... Is that the State Supreme Court steps?

Steve Green: Supreme Court steps. We'd just finished hearing the oral argument of the case. And it was a snowy day, and we were coming down the steps, getting ready to make a few comments to the press.

David Green: You have to see my wife's face on that, because that's what's most interesting, because we were told that there's going to be all these people, the haters that's going to scream and holler at us that we hate women, and things like that. But, instead of that, we heard a chanting, "Yay, Hobby Lobby. Yay, Hobby Lobby."

So, my wife, in that picture, her thumb's up, smiling real big. So God had delivered us from all of that junk that someone says we were going to... And it was there. But that's not what we heard coming out on those steps.

Steve Green: And, as you were looting to everywhere we were going... We were going around speaking for different reasons. Everywhere we went, people were saying they were praying for us. And we owe a debt of gratitude to people all over our nation. We were probably the most prayed-for family. And we're so grateful for the prayers that so many did make for us.

David Green: You know, I have to admit that I was really a basket case when I saw that we could lose our business, because we were not going to fold, in terms of taking life. And I was a basket case, at first and I have to admit it. But then, Barbara and I both, very soon thereafter, was 100% in peace. And I said, "Why did that happen, that we were in such peace?" And I think it was two reasons. One is... You know, in business, I'm always having to make decisions. And every decision has a 60/40, and it has the positives and negatives. And we think about that all the time, because I'm making decisions and nothing's hundred/zero.

But, as Barbara and I talked about this, and the family, we said, "This is a 100/zero. It's a 100. There isn't a 99 and one. This is wrong to take life." And that helped us. And the other thing that helped us, as Steve said, was so many people praying for us. And, with those two things, Barbara and I and, I think, the family, could say, we were at perfect peace when we knew that we could lose this company.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That paved way, by the way, all that effort to a decision that went in your direction. And I wanted to ask you about this very issue of Christians in culture, making a difference, standing bold. It's not easy, and people are kind of spinning. But there's a stirring. I really believe there's a stirring going on among people everywhere saying, it's time not to be silent, but to be a voice of reason and fidelity to our God. Can you just speak what's in your heart about that very issue?

David Green: One of the things that I feel like that I have learned is, if we want God's blessing, then we have to do things that's going to cost us. I can name you at least 10 different things, and I may name you a couple three, that cost us money. Almost everything, when you take a stand, costs. And you have to be willing to take that cost.

When we sued the government, it hurt our business. We had people picketing. And, when God asks us to close on Sunday, it cost. And I wasn't brave enough to shut them all down in one month. So like, one month after the other, I would close them. But people would say, "God's going to bless you. God's going to bless you." I didn't see it. I didn't see it on the profit sheets. I didn't see it on the sales sheets.

I mean, God asked us to stop selling Halloween. It cost us. So I can name you about 10 or 12 things, in every case, almost, when you look at the dollar and cent, it cost. I think that's what God wants. He doesn't want us to do things because we're going to get a prize. But, on the other hand, in the bigger picture of things, He has blessed us beyond anything you could even imagine.

Steve Green: Amen.

Dr. Tim Clinton: You tell a story about how that, when you started putting the newspaper ads in, that you were reading your own text, and how that God placed you there.

David Green: Yeah. He's talking about when God asked us to close on Sundays and I just wasn't brave enough to do that. So I started with Nebraska, where we had four stores. And one of the papers picked it up, and called our CFO with, "What you going to do?" And he said, "Well, our CEO says, if this goes well, we're going to close the stores." I'm actually reading my own... So God's saying, "Oh, you're going to be obedient if it works financially for you?" And I said, "No, God. We're going to close them all."

Dr. Tim Clinton: I want to go to another facet of Hobby Lobby. And that's the generosity side. Everywhere I go, I've talked to ministry leaders. They know you, David and Steve Green, and Mart, and Darcy, and the whole family, Miss Barbara. And you have blessed and touched so many ministries through the years, in so many ways. Part of that goes back to a stewardship issue, and the lessons you learned early on that you've passed on, David, to your children. I know, Steve, it's in his heart because of what I've seen him do. And I heard that, like you tithe, or you give back 50% of your earnings to the Lord. Is that true?

Steve Green: It is. And I was overseeing our accounting department years ago. And I remember thinking that we grew up being taught to tithe. And we did. Personally, we saw our parents doing that. And I was curious if we did that as the business. And, as I calculated, I saw that we weren't, and thought, "Eh, it'd be good for us to do more in our giving." And it was about that same time when Dad and my brother, at a church, were inspired to give to a particular ministry. And we came up with this five-year plan to give to the ministry in a significant amount. And it would take some significant giving.

So, as I continued to track our giving, we quickly started giving up to the 10%. And, then, we exceeded the 10%. And I remember tracking, I wonder if we'll be able to make up for some lost time? And we quickly did, as our giving continued to escalate. And we continued to escalate 'til a day when we said, "Let's just go ahead and give half of our profits away." And, then, made that decision many years ago. And we have been able to do that. And it's exciting to be able to be a part. And, when you know that you're coming in and giving half your profits, it just says, "I want to make as much profits as I can, because I know half of it's going to serve eternal purposes."

Dr. Tim Clinton: I'm holding in my hand a book. Title is Giving it All Away ... and Getting it All Back Again, written by David Green, and Bill High, who I had the privilege of meeting, not long ago. But, David, in there, you talked about how this all started. And the seeds go back to your mom, really.

David Green: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: And I know you shared just a little bit of that yesterday. But could you just recast that for us?

David Green: Yeah. I think that my mom and my dad, in their whole life, and how they loved to give, and how important it was for them to do things that would be eternal. My mom would crochet little dollies. And maybe she would only get a dollar for them. But I remember, one time, my dad says, "We're giving to Missions." She says, "But I want to give my own money." She wanted to create some dollars of her own. And it would only be a dollar or two, that she would do that. But that's the heart that she had.

You know, God's not impressed with our numbers. He's not impressed, at all. He's impressed with our heart. And we have a real heart to serve Him. And that's what He looks at. And that's what we want to make sure, that our heart is right, that what we do, we do it for a reason. And that is to see people come to know Christ.

Dr. Tim Clinton: That really has stirred in my heart, since I've been thinking about it, that I want my family to understand the vision and the mission that we're called to. And money can be a real blessing, and it can be a real curse. It can put a lot of chains on you. And the love of money, as Paul said, destroys a lot of people. So balancing all that, that's got to be a challenge.

David Green: Well, it is a challenge. And we've asked God, and He has led us. I believe he's led us. And I think our family is very, very comfortable with where we are, with this incredible amount of wealth. Generally, wealth in a family has a better chance... Do a survey on it. ... of messing a family up than it does helping them. I mean, it's a huge percent that it really messes up.

So we knew that. And there was times that we know that the Holy Spirit talked to us about how to handle this wealth. And, basically, we feel like there's three things that you need to do in wealth. And that is the stock. What do you do with the stock? And what do you do with the salaries? And what do you do with the say? Who has the say? So those are the three things that we're really focused on and asking God to lead us on.

The stock is already taking care of. It's in a trust that no one can touch, because all of the voting stock is with the family. The salary's good, because we have a committee that decides my salary and everybody else. So you can't argue there. And, then, the last piece, we're still involved in. And that's the say, who's on the committees for the say.

So, if you can get those three things right... But, if any one of those are wrong, you're messed up. And you have a better chance of being messed up than you do, having it right. But I feel like God has led us in how to handle those three areas.

Dr. Tim Clinton: I wrote down, in my notes, "The real mission or vision, here, is to teach our family to love God intimately, and to give extravagantly." That was moving to me.

Steve Green: Yeah. And when you see how Christ sums up the law and the prophets. He says it's all summed up in two things, love God and love your neighbor. And that's the way we say it. We want to love God intimately. It's not just on a surface level, but a real relationship, which is, ultimately, what God wants.

God wants a relationship with you and me. And we want our family to realize that we want them to have that relationship with their God and Savior. And then, that leads us to be loving to our fellow man, which is shown through generosity. So, if we can love extravagantly, then we feel like we've done what God's called us to do.

Dr. Tim Clinton: We're fighting the clock here. But I've got to get this piece in. I'm holding in my hand, something that's precious to us all. It's the Bible, God's word. And part of Hobby Lobby's efforts included a calling, a mission to create The Museum of the Bible, in Washington, DC. Tell us a little bit about that... I know you opened back in 2017. ... where it's at, where it's going. It's spectacular.

Steve Green: Yeah, we were... I lovingly say God tricked us into it because it wasn't something that we were planning on doing. But, as a group asked our help to putting in a Bible museum, it led us to get involved. And it became our project, after a series of events. So we were looking in three cities, New York city, Washington, DC, and Dallas, and showed that it would be best-attended in DC. So we focused there.

And we look at the Bible in three ways, the Bible's history, its impact, and its narrative. Those are the three core floors within the museum. The Vatican has some space. The Israel Antiquity Authority has some space. We have restaurant, and temporary exhibits, and all the things of a museum would have. And it's done world-class level, because this is a book that's changed our world. And we want to highlight this book, invite people to engage with this book.

So it's just been an exciting venture that God took the family on. And I got to be the point person for the family on that. And we saw God going before us, time and time again, through our mistakes. God was there, guiding and directing us. And it's been exciting for me and my wife to be a part of.

Dr. Tim Clinton: David, I heard you say that the two most important things are this book and a man's soul. And I'm thinking... You know, just go back. You know, people go to Washington to go to Air and Space Museum, et cetera. They may want to see the Capitol. They want to go to Arlington Cemetery. The need to go see The Museum of the Bible. It is unbelievable, artifacts from everywhere. And it is about who we are, and how we will live out our life.

I'm reminded of Joshua 1:8, "This book of the Law shall depart out of thy mouth. But thou shalt mediate therein, both day and night. For, then, thou shalt be prosperous. And, then, you'll have good success." And I think that... What is it? Psalm 119, Verse 11? "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against you, God." It's His manual for life. And I so love that you're so dedicated and committed to it.

You know, as we go, I wanted to ask you this before you go. As you look back, and you look at the forward or the years ahead of you, what's in your heart? What keeps you up at night? And what are you praying for?

David Green: Yeah, that's a tough one. I think we just want to be faithful with what God has given us. And we just want to do more of it. The Bible says delight thyself in His heart, and He'll give you the desires of your heart. So I just want to do that. So I have my desires is that God takes me while I'm working. I don't want to not work. So I just want to do what God has allowed us to do this far, and just do more of it that I can do. So that's what I'm excited about.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Yeah. It reminds me of my dad. My dad said, "Tim, I love to live. And I'm going out with my boots on." That's what he said. Steve, I'm going to pass it to you. What about you, your parting thoughts and words, here?

Steve Green: It's similar. Just want to do what God wants us to do. Don't want to get ahead of God or get behind God. I don't want God saying, "Why aren't you doing what I've called you to do?" or getting ahead of God, thinking that I know where He's taking me. But be sensitive and be led by God. There's a lot of opportunities that our family has been given. And takes a lot of prayer, just saying, "God, guide and direct us, and help us to be right where You want us to be."

Knowing that we make mistakes, regularly, but God helps get us back on path, and say, "Nope, that's not what you're supposed to do. Move over here, and get back on the road," and doing the best we can to raise our family, and pass that on to them, to take the baton, as we're leaving this life because, as I said, it's a vapor world, and it'll be gone shortly.

Dr. Tim Clinton: My mind is going to Second Chronicles, 29:36. Hezekiah, who, by the way, prayed for some extra years. You know that?

David Green: Yeah.

Dr. Tim Clinton: "Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people, because it was done so quickly." And I'll add the word, faithfully.

On behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife, Shirley, the team at Family Talk, and the James Dobson Family Institute, we salute you, and pray that God would do that very thing, continue this great work for such a time as this. David, Steve, thank you for joining us.

David Green: Well, thank you for your time.

Steve Green: Thank you, Tim.

Dr. Tim Clinton: Bless you.

David Green: Appreciate it.

Roger Marsh: Well, you've been listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. And what you just heard was the conclusion of Dr. Tim Clinton's two-day conversation with David and Steve Green, of Hobby Lobby. I hope that you were encouraged by the Green family's ongoing story of faith and obedience. David and Steve Green are committed to serving the Lord in whatever they do. And it's obvious that God has blessed them for that.

Now, if you missed any part of this two-day conversation, or if you want to learn more about the Green family, visit drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. That's drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.

Well, friends, July is almost over. So I want to remind you, one more time, to sign up for our 30-day Kindness Challenge. This entire month, the JDFI has been partnering with best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn to provide Shaunti's popular 30-Day Kindness Challenge to our listeners. For 30 days in a row, starting whenever you start, participants will practice real, tangible kindness toward one person who they want to improve their relationship with. And they'll be guided every step of the way.

Now, I've been participating in the Kindness Challenge since the beginning of the month. And it really has made a difference. One of the biggest challenges that I've notices is, first and foremost, you got to get over yourself in terms of thinking, "I'm a kind person," because, chances are, within the first day or two, or maybe the first hour or two, of doing the Kindness Challenge, you'll do something unkind, that makes you stop and wonder, "Do I do that more often than I think?"

Trust me. If you are prayerful, if you are looking for that opportunity to not speak negatively about the person for whom you're practicing kindness to, and also look for one encouraging word that you can share with them, each and every day, it comes naturally. But it does take a little bit of intentionality. Now, like I said, there's still time to join the challenge. To learn more, and to sign up, go to drjamesdobson.org/kindnesschallenge.

Well, thanks again, for joining us, today, here on Family Talk. And, from all of here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, God's richest blessings to you and your family. Be sure to join us again, next time, right here, for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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