J. C. Penney. A household name in America. What you may not know is that his full name was James Cash Penney. An appropriate name for someone who amassed great wealth through the retail stores that bear his name.
There’s something else you may not know. J. C. Penney nearly lost his life due to excessive worry about money. In an article entitled, The Hymn that Brought J.C. Penney to Salvation, Victor Parachin tells the story. Here are some excerpts from his article.
Penney began his business ventures in 1902 and would eventually preside over 1,700 stores. Beginning in 1929 a series of events nearly cost Penney his life. When the Great Depression struck the country, it came at a time of great financial vulnerability for Penney. While his stores continued to do well, Penney had been adding outside interests, and these were proving extremely costly. In order to finance these outside interests he borrowed heavily.
The depression prompted banks to request repayment sooner than anticipated. Suddenly cash flow was tight, and Penney found it difficult to meet the payments. Constant and unrelenting worry began to take a toll on Penney.
“I was so harassed with worries that I couldn’t sleep and developed an extremely painful ailment,” he said.
Penne’s condition worsened and he was hospitalized. He got to the point he felt he would not live another day. He wrote letters saying good-bye to his family. But while in the hospital he heard singing coming from the chapel. He entered and the words of the hymn deeply touched him.
“Suddenly something happened,” he recalled. “I can’t explain it, I can only call it a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into a warm, brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise. I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before. From that day to this, my life has been worry free.”
The hymn they were singing was written by Civilla Durfee Martin. The first stanza and refrain read:
Be not dismayed what’er betide, God will take care of you. Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you. God will take care of you, through ev’ry day, o’er all the way. He will take care of you. God will take care of you.
Financial stress caused J. C. Penney great anxiety to the point of despair. But he found a much better source of security in the Lord.
Do you worry about money?
Jesus said, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
God is a faithful Provider. Trust Him. He will take care of you!
We archive all editions of Pastor's Pen. If you have missed any previous editions