David Rockefeller, grandson of one of America’s earlier billionaires, John D. Rockefeller Sr., and an exponent of one of the world’s most famously rich families, died last Monday, March 20, 2017 at the age of 101.
The question immediately arises, why did the good Lord permit this super wealthy servant of His to live so long?
One reason is that David got it from his grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Sr. By the time he was 45, he had given away US100, 000 per year; and by the time he was 53, the amount rose to US$1m annually. By the time he died he had given away US$550 million. The writer Burton Folsome said John D. Sr. gave much of his money to Christian groups.
He built schools, churches and hospitals. He was able to support missionaries and bring the message of Christianity to the whole world. His support led to privately funded teams of scientists who found cures for yellow fever—the deadly, then incurable disease that killed the first Principal of the Booker Washington Institute, James L. Sibley. Rockefeller also funded studies toward the cure for meningitis and hookworm.
John D. Sr.’s giving also led to vast improvements in education for many. He gave tens of millions to the University of Chicago, US$100 million to Harvard, his two alma maters, a lot of money to Black, Southern (US) and Baptist schools.
John D. Rockefeller’s philosophy of giving was founded upon biblical principles, especially that found in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you meet to others will be measured unto you.”
One last thing about John D. Sr.: He read the Bible every day and attended Bible study weekly.
This is the rich background of faith, virtue and charity into which David Rockefeller was born. He told his daughter Eileen, when she was about to marry a Jew, “My only concern is that you marry someone who believes in God.”
Why? Because David came from a long line of people who, despite their riches, took their faith in the Almighty very seriously.
David will most likely be buried from Union Church in Pocantico Hills, New York, where he and his late wife helped add stained-glass windows and also helped fund the church’s pipe organ and a pastoral endowment.
And who among our readers can guess what else was said of David Rockefeller? He attended church regularly.
This, said his pastor, Rev. Paul HeHoff, was “an inspiration to other parishioners.”
Why was it considered “an inspiration”? Because people could not understand why a man with all that money still found time to worship God on a regular basis.
Remember what Jesus once said? “It is harder for a rich man to go to Heaven than for a camel to go through a needle’s eye.”
That’s the way it is with human nature. Wealthy people, powerful people, highly educated and highly intelligent people often no longer have time for God or His church. Why? Because they often attribute their intelligence, their power, their wealth and their success to themselves—to what they now consider their own “self-made nature.”
For true? That is precisely why though some of our readers might question why this Editorial, since it is about David Rockefeller, which is none of our business, we strongly believe it is. For how many times have we in this column not stated our belief that America remains on top of the world in so many ways because it is the only industrialized nation most of whose leaders—political, financial and industrial—find their way to church almost every Sunday.
Look at David Rockefeller, one of the world’s richest men, who despite his riches, found his way to church every Sunday. And how did God reward him? Kept him and his family among the world’s super rich and more besides, kept him alive and healthy for a century plus!
That’s small thing?
R.I.P., Mr. Rockefeller! May others whom the Almighty has favored in one way or another follow your great example.