Category Archives: Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow

As to why God had singled out John D. Rockefeller for such spectacular bounty, Rockefeller always adverted to his own adherence to the doctrine of stewardship—the notion of the wealthy man as a mere instrument of God, a temporary trustee of his money, who devoted it to good causes. “It has seemed as if I was favored and got increase because the Lord knew that I was going to turn around and give it back.” Rockefeller said this in his late seventies, and one wonders whether the equation between moneymaking and money giving only entered his mind later. Yet even as a teenager, he took palpable pleasure in distributing money for charitable purposes, and he insisted that from an early date he discerned the intimate spiritual link between earning and dispensing money. “I remember clearly when the financial plan—if I may call it so— of my life was formed. It was out in Ohio, under the ministration of a dear old minister, who preached, ‘Get money: get it honestly and then give it wisely.’ I wrote that down in a little book.” This echoed John Wesley’s dictum, “If those who ‘gain all they can’ and ‘save all they can,’ will likewise ‘give all they can,’ then the more they will grow in grace.”

Ron Chernow, Titan: the Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., New York, 1998, p. 55