October 8 – If I Were A Rich Man

The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it]. Proverbs 10:22

Milton changed his world. Though he only had the equivalency of a fourth grade education, Milton Hershey built what would become the largest chocolate manufacturing company in the world. He transformed the landscape of the twentieth century for so many with a simple but profound motivation. Generosity.

Not only did he create a viable market that could benefit from the many native dairy farmers of his birthplace, Derry Church, he revolutionized the concept of “Company Townships” where workers and their families had a community of support for all those “beyond the job” needs and desires; thus, the city of Hershey, Pennsylvania was built, which is thoroughly equipped with excellent housing, entertainment and medical options, and much, much more.

But in my estimation, one of the greatest expressions of the soul wealth of Milton Hershey was the founding of a school for orphaned, unwanted and underprivileged children, known today as the Milton Hershey School. Now more than one hundred years old, this school has been an instrument of endless encouragement and inspiration for multitudes upon multitudes of would-be lost innocent children.

To insure the school would have more than adequate funding long after he and his wife’s time on earth was done, Milton established the Milton Hershey School Trust Fund that to this day has the majority of the voting shares of the Hershey Company.

As I reflect on today’s Proverb, “the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich…,” Mr. Hershey inspires me. Yes, he built a successful company that today does around seven billion dollars in sales annually, but he designated the lion share of what he could have hoarded as his fortune toward the betterment of others. That’s true richness.

No, I don’t have a huge company to underwrite what’s broken in the world, but what I have and what you have is just as “wealth producing.” It’s a heart that is capable of benevolence toward our fellow man. Money is easy, but blessed generosity can change the world!

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