Never again will I be able to clean my teeth, drink Tropicana, or spread jam on my toast without thinking of this book, in which seven born-again entrepreneurs are revealed in painstakingly-researched detail.
There are heart-moving details of God-ordained romances and marriage partners enlivening commercial history. Their nineteenth and twentieth century storylines are riddled with the historic minutiae of the day. Foregrounded is a strong temperance theme linking most of the stories of William Colgate, Thomas Cook, Henry Crowell, William Hartley, Henry Heinz, James Kraft, and Anthony Rossi.
These blow-by-blow accounts will warm the hearts of any believer in Christ, and remind us of that real change in heart which is found in the lives of those whom God calls and commissions for his service. The theme of Christian living as faithful service is refreshing for 21st century believers who may be tempted by the distortions of the prosperity gospel. Yes, there were ‘ups’, but many ‘downs’ too.
Hear the moving testimony of cheese supremo James Kraft: ‘I would rather be a layman in the North Shore Baptist Church than to head up the largest corporation in America. My first job is to serve Jesus’ (p.152). Whether it is Colgate, Cook, or the other five, devotion to the service of God was always their stated bottom line.
This is confirmed in their tireless commitment to personal involvement, as well as huge donations for evangelistic publishing, Christian education causes, and the building of many churches. Philanthropic concerns saturated their lives. For example, William Hartley built hospitals in Liverpool and his native Colne; and the Moody Bible Institute was rescued from collapse by Quaker Oats founder Henry Crowell. We are moved to be grateful to God for his common grace, and are reminded of the sheer energy, verve, and potential of lives which are committed to his service.
This is a book which you would need to read slowly, perhaps over an extended timeframe. It is a worthy contribution to a record of faithful Christian witness from business pioneers.