The Men Who Built America: John D. Rockefeller’s Faith

This is part five in a series on “The Men Who Built America.”

In my previous post I introduced you to John D. Rockefeller a prolific businessman who get his start in the oil industry. As I mentioned, Rockefeller was a devotedly religious man and one of America’s greatest philanthropists.

Regarding his Christian faith, Rockefeller would read the Bible daily, attend prayer meetings twice a week and even led his own Bible study with his wife. He tithed, rested on the Sabbath and gave away much of his money to charity. Burton Folsom Jr. has noted, “he sometimes gave tens of thousands of dollars to Christian groups, while, at the same time, he was trying to borrow over a million dollar to expand his business.” Additionally, Rockefeller took time to spend with his family, something that confused many businessmen.

Rockefeller’s philanthropy was extensive. As his own personal fortune grew, so did the amount of money he gave to good causes. By the time he was 45 years old, he had given away $100,000 per year. At 53, he hit $1,000,000 per year, and at 80 he gave away $138,000,000. In total, historians estimate that he gave away $550,000,000 which is more than any other American before him.

His philosophy of giving was founded upon biblical principles. He truly believed in the biblical principle 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 use, it will be measured to you.”

With Rockefeller’s philanthropy, people were able to build schools, churches and hospitals. He was able to support missionaries and was able to bring the message of Christianity the whole world. His support led to privately funded teams of scientists who found cures for yellow fever, meningitis and hookworm. His giving also led to vast improvements in education for many. He gave tens of millions to the University of Chicago, black schools, Southern schools and Baptist schools. Yet, not all the schools continually received money; improved results were a requirement. This was based upon Rockefeller’s interpretation of the parable of the talents and the Apostle Paul’s writing that, “if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

As he neared the end of his life, Rockefeller learned how to enjoy the small things in life. He learned how to tango, hired a caddy to help with his golf swing and spent more time with his family—especially his grandkids. He would also watch people who passed his house and gave dimes to children telling them to work and to save.

Rockefeller serves as a great example of what it means to be a good steward of what God has given us. He also is a reminder to abide by those seemingly counterintuitive instructions to rest on the Sabbath and to give so that we might have more.

  • Guest

    Is this article supposed to be a joke? I am apalled by the utter ignorance here on the evil, globalist man Rockefeller was. I mean, come on, even fundamentalist Christian websites expose this vain man for what he really was. This article, written from your worldview even demonstrates my point:

    Please wake up.

    • Rob

      Your tinfoil hat is on too tight. Go back to sleep buddy.

      • Harry


        • j0kr

          How did you know?

        • James Leran earth is trolling


        • excogitatoris

          You would know 😉

    • Stuart Ross

      All people have different skills given to us by God. John D. Rockefeller was given the gift of business, and he used what he earned to serve God. For being one of the richest men ever, I am sure he has his failures, but don’t we all? From what I understand, he was given a gift, and he used it. Have you done the same?

      • Jonathan

        it is amazing how most people major on minors. i believe the prospects of this man is worthy of note. it could be he had his own weakness but the facts still remains that in all he made a remarkable impact and i believe he fulfill his days as well.

    • Renaldo Awes

      The globalist empire began after John, actually. John D Rockefeller wasn’t a globalist. His son, David Rockefeller is a globalist. They aren’t the same person… David inherited the fortune that John created.

  • SaveTheMosquito

    Thank you, Kurt. This is not easily received by people with today’s prevailing “progressive” prejudices.

    • Ken3580

      So true. So true.

  • Ken3580

    What a wonderful story. It’s so sad that we are told of this. However, the “prince of darkness” (i.e. the devil) is at work in the minds of those without faith (or more so reject Christ) to suppress the truth in unbelief and to cover the light wherever they find it, no matter how bright and brilliant because, as in the words of our own Lord Jesus Christ, “men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”

  • Acumen Believed

    Did he interpret Sunday as the Sabbath

  • pastoradambarton

    Thank you! Really nice to learn all this. Wish there more more like this. With appreciation, Pastor Adam Barton.

  • Jonathan

    positive lessons for building great future with the Lord Jesus. thank you Kurt

  • JoeD

    “previous post” does not wor

  • Cathy

    He also did a few evil deeds which makes me wonder was He really a follower of Christ. Read his history. What he did to his workers, how he stopped natural medicine so he can have his drugs flood the market. You can’t do evil works and ask forgiveness, it really doesn’t work that way. You truly have to repent and forsake and make restitution.

    • Se7en

      Rockefeller actually worked with many of his laborers. Instead of just being a high and mighty robber-baron, he was connected with his workers as well.

    • Renaldo Awes

      Please cite where he abused his workers. Every source I’ve read states he was quite good to them. All I’m asking for is a citation. I hear all this rot about the man but nobody ever cites anything. Just sounds like spoon fed rubbish. I’ve actually read a lot about the man and most of this rot is completely unfounded.

      • Beathedrum

        You will know them by their fruit. I don’t believe David Rockefeller
        was a Christ following believer. I believe he demonstrated repeatedly
        during his life that he is a Globalist and a key player in the forming
        of the NWO. That includes chipping everyone. He was a tool for the
        enemy of our souls. I for one am very happy David went to meet his
        creator and be humbled before him. He now knows for sure that he
        (David) is not god.

      • Jacob

        Obviously you haven’t been educated on American history.

    • Emily Baldwin

      He was religious. That doesn’t mean he followed Christ. I will say, he lived a long life, his children are all still living, he had great wealth. He survived his wife. He had a good life. What God will see when he looks at him now (after death) may or may not be his holy spirit. I hope it is.

  • Jacob

    What about Rockefeller’s goons who forced companies out of business/hurt people?
    What about child labor and over working?

    Every coin has two sides. Sounds pretty Christian to me.

    • Renaldo Awes

      Please list a single company that was run out of business mafia style by John D Rockefeller.

      You won’t. In fact the total number of competitors rose during his time, Don’t knock a man without some facts or research. Otherwise you’re just puppeting what you hear, which is evidence of a low IQ.

      • Beathedrum

        The New York Times reported in 1937: “He was accused of crushing out
        competition, getting rich on rebates from railroads, bribing men to spy
        on competing companies, of making secret agreements, of coercing rivals
        to join the Standard Oil Company under threat of being forced out of
        business, building up enormous fortunes on the ruins of other men, and
        so on.”

        • texianfortruth

          “The New York Times”.

          Enough said.

      • Jacob

        Hey, one name for you: Ida Tarbell.

        Maybe you shouldn’t judge people’s IQ because they disagree with you: because if you can’t even recall one of America’s most influential muckrakers, you must not even have a basic college/High School-AP US-history course completed.

  • Many
    have claimed that John Davison Rockefeller tithed his very first
    earnings and continued tithing faithfully throughout his entire life.
    And yet, Mr. Rockefeller’s Ledger published by himself in 1897 tells an
    entirely different story altogether.

    first year of earnings, ( from August 27, 1855 to January 1, 1856) he
    earned a total of fifty dollars. Of that fifty dollars, he paid his
    washerwoman and paid his rent to the lady he boarded with, purchased
    some “cheap clothes” for six dollars nine cents, and began putting a
    penny in the Sunday School Plate every Sunday.

    A penny a week
    for seventeen weeks equals seventeen cents, given out of the fifty
    dollars. A far cry short of five dollars, which is ten percent of fifty

    next year, (1856) according to his Ledger, Rockefeller received a raise
    in his salary and earned three hundred dollars. With the raise, he made
    a raise in the Sunday School Plate. He gave a dime a week instead of a

    cents a week for fifty-two weeks. That adds up to five dollars twenty
    cents. Again, a far cry short of being twn cents out of every dollar.

    spoke about his first few years earnings at the Young Men’s Bible Study
    Class at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in 1897. Not once in his message
    to those young men did he say that he ever tithed his money to the
    Church. Nor did he tell the young men that they could be tithing their
    money to the Church either.

  • Max Benser

    44 Each tree is known by its proper fruit; figs are not plucked from thorns, nor grapes gathered from brier bushes.

    “Royal Nazi Human Hunting Parties”
    (Before It’s News)
    “Everyone has heard of the royal hunting parties rumours but are they true? well yes it seems so but not just the British Royal Family the nazis and Hitler also did it, The Rothschilds did and probably still do and also people including Hillary and Bill Clinton, ( David Rockefeller) , George Bush Snr and Jnr and basically the whole 1% elite.
    Cathy O’Brien is a prime example she has spoken out about the hunting parties her and her daughter had to go through.”

  • sam ballinger

    God is going to use me to change the world like John D. Rockefeller, one day.

  • Thank you for these great words of encouragement. The older and more experienced I get the greater my understanding of the dignity of work becomes. The only way out of poverty is work.

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