Lessons From a Man of Influence

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

– 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

J.D. Rockefeller is someone who has always fascinated me. He was, according to history, probably the wealthiest person who ever lived. After starting Standard Oil Company, which was broken into 34 smaller holdings as the result of an antitrust lawsuit, he became a multi-billionaire. So rich was he that he would actually loan money to the federal government when they got in trouble! Isn’t that crazy?

Anyway, whether you love him or hate him, there are a few interesting lessons we can learn from the life of Mr. Rockefeller, especially as it pertains to the power of thoughts. I believe this man of influence had three qualities that shifted his mindset and propelled him to the level of success he ultimately achieved. First of all, he had a generous spirit and he believed in giving. After growing up poor with a father who was known to be a scoundrel (his nickname was “Devil Bill”), J.D. was heavily impacted by his mother, who was a devout Baptist. She instilled Christian values in him, and there are many accounts of him as a young man, even when he had very little, finding neighbors and giving things away to help them. Secondly, he had a love for work and an extremely positive attitude toward it. In a period of history when there were unjust child labor laws, he got a job making 50 cents an hour, which even back then was robbery. Yet nevertheless, for the rest of his life, he had a party every September 26 to celebrate the anniversary of his first job! Finally, he had a sense of destiny. As a young man, he was on his way to somewhere for business and he missed his train. He was upset because of how it threw his schedule off until he heard a few hours later that the train crashed and everybody on board died. He believed that God spared him for a reason, so every day when he woke up, he knew he had a purpose. With that thought firmly embedded in his mind, he went far!

Friend, my point in sharing the story of J.D. Rockefeller is not to hold him up as an exemplary human being but simply to illustrate the power of a few firmly established guiding thoughts and how they can change a life. Though it is not our goal as disciples of Jesus to be filthy rich at the expense of anyone else, we should seek to have influence in the world as a way to point others to our Savior. I believe that that influence comes through a focused and disciplined mind. You see, there’s a reason Paul identifies a sound mind as one of the primary evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a believer. Your thoughts are important because they determine whether or not your life displays the amazing power of your God. This is why I encourage you to align your thinking with His Word, and watch as things start to change!


Jesus, I receive the sound mind you promised in your Word. Bring my thoughts into alignment with your plan and purpose for my life.


What surprises you about the life of J.D. Rockefeller? Is there anything you can learn from him as it pertains to your thought life?

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