LeTourneau’s Bitter Experience
R. G. LeTourneau, the Christian earth-moving machinery manufacturer who died in 1969, failed often in the earlier years of his career.
Ironically, though, he made $35,000 profit one year in the middle of the depression. Puffed up with pride, he withheld the payment of his $5,000 annual pledge to the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in order to reinvest it in the business and give the Lord an even greater share the following year when he anticipated a net profit of $100,000.
God was not mocked by LeTourneau’s withholding of his tithe from the storehouse. Within a year, his anticipated $100,000 profit was turned into a $100,000 loss, and brought the erring servant to his knees. It was a thoroughly chastened and repentant LeTourneau who by much courage and faith pledged not only $5,000 to his church for the year he skipped, but also the same amount for the following year—in the face of a $100,000 debt and no money for payroll. On top of that, his bookkeeper was ready to quit.
From that point on, LeTourneau’s fortune changed and within four years, he and his wife founded the LeTourneau Foundation comprised of 90 percent of the stocks of LeTourneau Corp., the earnings of which financed evangelical Christian work world-wide. At one time, this foundation was worth $40 million.
LeTourneau often said: “It is not how much money I give to God, but how much of God’s money I keep for myself.”