Doug Johnson: Finding the Golden Rule really does work

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 29, 2023

In Matthew 7:12, Jesus taught what we call the ‘Golden Rule’: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (NIV).

Some people may think: “That’s a good concept but does it work?”

From The Little Book of Big Dreams by Alan C. Elliot comes this true story: James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton, Missouri, in 1875, the son of a Baptist minister.

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During his early years, he raised pigs and watermelons and ran a butcher shop. He refused to supply meat to hotels that sold liquor, and his butcher shop failed.

Next, he tried retail dry goods and in 1902 bought a one-third share in a dry goods store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. From that store, he launched a chain called the Golden Rule stores, so named because they were based on the concept of treating all people with the kindness we ourselves expect, that is, the Golden Rule as taught by Jesus. Every store had a giant Golden Rule sign hanging on a prominent wall.

Penney believed that every person was a “human dynamo, capable of accomplishing anything to which he aspires.” He despised debt, drinking, and smoking, and he demanded zeal, enthusiasm, and loyalty from every employee.

Penney claimed that it was the application of the Golden Rule that made his stores (now named JC Penney) a success. By the time he died in 1971, Penney’s stores had annual sales of over $4 billion!

Here’s another example of the Golden Rule in action: In mid-1963, after a successful career in direct sales, Mary Kay Ash retired — for one month.

During that brief span, she decided to write a book to help women survive in the male-dominated business world.

At her kitchen table, she made two lists — one contained the good things she had seen in companies; the other featured the things she thought could be improved.

When she reviewed the lists, she realized that she had inadvertently created a marketing plan for a successful company.

With her life savings of $5,000 and the help of her twenty-year-old son, Richard Rogers, she launched Mary Kay Cosmetics on Friday, Sept. 13, 1963.

Mary Kay’s goal was to provide women with an unlimited opportunity for personal and financial success. She used the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy and encouraged employees and sales force members to prioritize their lives: God first, family second, career third.

Because of her steadfast commitment to her goals and principles, and her tremendous determination, dedication, and hard work, Mary Kay Inc. has grown from a small direct-sales company into the largest direct seller of skin care products in the U.S. with the nation’s best-selling brand of facial skin care and color cosmetics.

Today, the company has more than 3.5 million independent beauty consultants in 35 countries around the world. A unique combination of using the Golden Rule, quality products, an innovative marketing concept and an ambitious set of goals has turned Mary Kay Inc. into an American business success story.

What about you? Do you apply the Golden Rule to your work? Do you demand the right priorities from yourself and your employees? Try it and see what a difference it will make in your life!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.