The bible tells us: 'Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...' (Hebr. 12,1)
Here comes some true Kingdom-architects. They surely did unusual things, they might have been celebrated by some and fought against by others... and they are probably unknown 'witnesses' to most of us. However their lives were loud, radiated and were quite 'salty'.
Jesus said: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5,13-16)
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Nettie McCormick (1835 - 1923)
'Nancy (“Nettie”) Fowler McCormick never expected to lead a life of ease. Orphaned at age 7, she learned early in life to make the most of her days. Such firm moral purpose would steer her throughout life, especially after her marriage to Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical reaper and one of the wealthiest men in American history.
Nettie Fowler was born in 1835, the youngest of three children. Her father was a dry-goods merchant in northwestern New York. After he died, her mother ran the business until her own death a few years later. Seven-year-old Nettie was sent to live with her uncle and grandmother—both devout Methodists and philanthropists in their community.
These early tragedies, combined with her subsequent upbringing, did much to shape her future philanthropy. Raised to be an active member of the local Methodist church, she felt her responsibility before God to be a good steward of her resources and time on earth. The young Nettie once wrote in her diary, “Usefulness is the great thing in life—to do something for others leaves a sweeter odor than a life of pleasure.”
Her uncle Eldridge Merick’s prosperity afforded new opportunities for young Nettie. Merick’s involvement in the church and community and his keen business sense had a prevailing influence on his niece, and his wealth provided her the opportunity for further education and training. Nettie attended Falley Seminary in Fulton, Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary, and the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York. As a student at Genesee Wesleyan, Nettie took on a leading role in the school’s missionary society and was honored by the school as a lifetime member.
At the age of 21, while on a trip to visit friends in Chicago, Nettie met Cyrus Hall McCormick, an inventor, businessman, and faithful Presbyterian. McCormick was over twice her age when the two began courting, and the couple married a year after they met in January 1858. Both were strong-willed individuals, and their marriage was by many accounts a challenging one. Nevertheless, it proved to be a formidable business partnership. Nettie was her husband’s closest business associate.
She was also actively involved in her husband’s philanthropic activities. They directed most of their charitable giving to religious organizations, usually churches and schools. McCormick gave away $550,000 in his lifetime to the Presbyterian Church, McCormick Theological Seminary, and other church colleges.
In October 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the McCormick Harvesting Machine plant. Then aged 62, Cyrus was ready to retire. Nettie, however, devoted her considerable energy to rebuilding the business, forming a new company which would consolidate the farm machinery industry. Nettie managed her husband’s investment, oversaw the construction of the new plant, and formed the International Harvester Company. She was the untitled director and president of the company until her husband’s death in 1884.
Nettie McCormick faithfully followed the directions of her husband’s will, which stated that she and Cyrus Jr. were to keep the estate intact for five years and make donations to charitable purposes that they believed Cyrus Sr. would have made if he was still living. Once freed from these restrictions, she turned her attention to her own philanthropy.
Nettie McCormick was an involved and detailed philanthropist who believed she would have to give an account to God for how she used the money with which she was entrusted. She felt strongly that any gift she made should have a moral purpose, provide a spiritual or educational benefit, and enable the recipients to better themselves. Over time, her philanthropic focus broadened to a greater variety of institutions but her pattern of giving to education, youth, and religious institutions remained. Orphanages, schools, colleges, hospitals, and relief agencies were all beneficiaries of her generosity, and she supported causes at home and abroad. She gave gifts to institutions such as Moody Bible Institute and Princeton University. She helped establish hospitals in Persia and Siam, and gave large gifts to religious colleges overseas, including Alborz College in Tehran and a theological seminary in Korea.
Nettie carefully managed her giving and maintained active involvement in many of her investments. At Tusculum College in Tennessee, she helped select faculty, devise curricular offerings, and decide on the appointment of college president Charles Gray. Among her many charitable projects at the school, Nettie spearheaded the construction of a new women’s dormitory, named for her daughter Virginia McCormick. Nettie gave specific stipulations as to how her money was to be spent on this project, and she oversaw the building process, even choosing the architect, to ensure that Tusculum had a fully modern facility for women. As a result, the school’s enrollment of female students jumped from 9 to 102. To this day, Tusculum holds a Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, focused on charitable works and improvement of the school grounds.
Upon her death in 1923, Nettie left a final gift of $1 million to various charities; the remainder of her estate was divided among her children. As evidence of her private nature, the obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune grossly underestimated the scope of her philanthropy, crediting her with supporting six schools. (In reality, she is known to have been a lead funder of at least 46 schools, and possibly more.) Over the course of her life, Nettie Fowler McCormick gave away millions of dollars, neither expecting nor wanting any recognition—in this life, at least.'
Henry Heinz (1844 - 1919)
'Henry Heinz was an American entrepreneur who, at the age of 25, co-founded a small horseradishconcern in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. This business failed, but his second business expanded into tomato ketchup and other condiments, and ultimately became the internationally known H. J. Heinz Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He was involved in the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. Many of his descendants are known for philanthropy and involvement in politics and public affairs. His fortune became the basis for the Heinz Foundations.
He based his business on Christian principles. He attributed his success as a direct result of his faith in God. The Heinz Company was known for its fair treatment of workers and for pioneering safe and clean food preparation. The Heinz Company is worth more than $12 billion today. It’s most famous product is tomato ketchup, with 650 million bottles of Ketchup being sold every year.'
John D. Rockefeller (1839 - 1937)
'John D. Rosckefeller was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, a superior name in the oil industry. He revolutionized the petroleum industry and set the standard for modern philanthropy. Rockefeller was a devout Christian who supported various church-based projects throughout his career. He was quoted as saying “God gave me money,” and he never apologized for it either.
He believed in John Wesley’s principle of “gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” Rockefeller gave 10 percent of his earnings to his church, from his very first paycheck to his last.'
Cher Wang (1950 - )
… is a devout Christian and a Taiwanese entrepreneur who co-founded the HTC Corporation, a popular smartphone maker, as well as VIA Technologies. Her late father was also one of the richest men in Taiwan. His name was Wang Yung-Ching. Wang says that the Bible is “the best book for management practice”. One of the most important things she has learned from the Bible is that a person must have a vision, otherwise he or she will be destroyed.'
Madam C. J. Walker (1867 - 1919)
… was an African American entrepreneur, poltical and social activist, and philanthropist and also regarded as the first self-made female African-American millionaire in America. Born in 1867, she started her own hair care product line in 1905 after suffering from a scalp condition that resulted in her hair loss.
Tenacity and perseverance, faith in herself and in God, quality products and “honest business dealings” were the elements and strategies she prescribed for aspiring entrepreneurs who requested the secret to her rags-to-riches ascent.
“God answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream a big black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up for my hair. Some of the remedy was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind I would begin to sell it.”
Madam C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867 on a Delta, Louisiana plantation, this daughter of former slaves transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs.
She became the first Black woman millionaire in the country; a woman orphaned at age 7, married at age 14 and widowed at age 20. Laboring as a washer woman for almost twenty years for $1.50 per week, she discovered a much needed product – a hair care formula. By 1919, Walker had built a beauty empire, amassed unprecedented wealth, become a philanthropist, crusader for justice, and social activist.
She followed the vision of the founder of the church, she attended: 'Charity is pure and disinterested, remote from all hopes or views of worldly return or recompence from the persons we relieve. We are to do good and lend, hoping for nothing again.'
Strive Masiyiwa (1961 - )
… a businessman from Zimbabwe, is the founder of Econet Wireless, a South African based global telecommunications group with operations in more than 15 countries. Masiyiwa is a born again Christian and was quoted as saying that he reads his Bible for at least 4 hours a day – if he’s busy! He gives 10 percent of his annual income to his church. Masiyiwa personally pays the school fees for over 22,000 Zimbabwean orphans.'
Gary Starkweather (1938 - 2019)
'Gary Starkweather was the inventor of the laser printer and encouraged believers to think biblically about their work. As an engineer and inventor, he’s worked with some of the leading technology innovators to include: Apple, Microsoft, and Xerox. He credits the success of his inventions to the guidance and inspiration of God.
“I believe that to a great extent, the creativity we possess is because the Creator put it there, ” says Starkweather. “God put things [in us] as tool developers and creative individuals and I think it has to please him when He sees us use those faculties to make something completely new."'
Francis Collins (1950 - )
'One of the preeminent geneticists in the world, Francis Collins helped complete a groundbreaking research into human DNA and gene sequences as a leader of the Human Genome Project. Collins, who is currently the Director of the National Institutes of Health, is also passionate about another topic: Exploring the intersections of science and his Christian faith through his idea of “BioLogos.” In his bestselling 2006 book The Language of God, Collins discusses his view of theistic evolution, suggesting God is a master creator and designer, responsible for setting forth the events resulting in life. He’s also an influential voice in modern Christianity: His BioLogos Foundation fosters dialogue in faith an science communities, and he was even recognized by Pope Benedict, receiving an appointment to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.'
Robert Boyle (1627 - 1691)
Said that a deeper understanding of science was a higher glorification of God. Defined elements, compounds, and mixtures. Discovered the first gas law – Boyle’s Law.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879)
'An evangelical Protestant who learned the Bible by heart at age 14. Transformed our understanding of nature: his famous equations unified the forces of electricity and magnetism, indicating that light is an electromagnetic wave. His kinetic theory established that temperature is entirely dependent on the speeds of particles.'
Arthur Guinness (1725 - 1803)
'Reportedly distraught over chronic public drunkenness, and of the belief that hard liquor was a destroying the working class, he worked toward the creation of a high quality, low alcohol beer which would be safer to drink that the water of the time, and far less intoxicating than gin. In 1759, he moved to Dublin where he paid £100 for a 9,000 year lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery at a rent of £45 a year. Successful from the start, he used the proceeds from his business to fund Protestant Sunday Schools (he was responsible for creating the first Sunday schools in Ireland), charities creating housing for Dublin’s disenfranchised poor, and hospitals, as well as providing benefits such as subsidized meals, pensions, and higher wages for employees which were unparalleled at the time.'
Sir Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626)
'Bacon was a devout Anglican, who wrote that the goals for his science were to discover truth and serve his country and the Church. Known for establishing and popularizing the scientific method, he was the first scientists to be knighted. He viewed science as a way to learn deeper truths about God, arguing that “a little philosophy inclines man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy brings men’s minds about to religion.”'
George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943)
Samuel Morse (1791 - 1872)
'Samuel F. B. Morse was the first child of pastor Jedidiah Morse who was also a geographer, and a great preacher of the Calvinist faith. After attending Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachussets, Samuel Morse went on to Yale College from where he graduated with honors. He is best remembered today for his invention of single-wire telegraph system and the co-inventor of the - method of transmitting textual information as a series of on and off tones. His discovery soon changed the way the messages are sent and received in the entire world, and even today Morse code is still in use in various areas of radio communications.
First official use of that system was on May 1, 1844, when the news Whig Party's nomination of Henry Clay for U.S. President was telegraphed from Baltimore to Washington. Impressive official demonstration of Samuel Morse's telegraph happened on May 24, 1844, carrying the famous words "What hath God wrought" from the Supreme Court chamber in Washington D.C. to the B&O's Mount Clare Station in Baltimore. To this day, this demonstration is remembered as the starting point of telegraph's expansion across the world.
During his life Morse received substantial amounts of honors, recognitions and awards from many countries around the world. Most notable honors included his induction into Order of Glory from Sultan Ahmad I ibn Mustafa of Turkey, Great Golden Medal of Science and Arts from Emperor of Austria, a Cross of Chevalier in the Légiond'honneur from the Emperor of France, Cross of a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog from the King of Denmark and Cross of Knight Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic from the Queen of Spain.'
Samuel Higginbottom (1874 - 1958)
'Sam Higginbotton came to America from England in 1894 to attend the Mt. Harmon School in Massachusetts. Influenced by the evangelical work of Dwight Lyman Moody, he went to Amherst in 1899 and Princeton in 1901. While at Princeton, he met George Forman, a missionary from India. Forman convinced Higginbotton to go to India as a Presbyterian missionary in 1903. Higginbotton taught at the Allahabad Christian College and was deeply impressed by the poverty of village life. He assumed a leading role in developing the Naini Leper Asylum and conceived the pioneering idea of founding an agricultural school to improve economic conditions on the sub-continent. Ethel and Sam Higginbottom returned to America several times to raise funds for the Allahabad Agricultual Institute. Such visits occurred during 1909-11, 1914-15, 1919-21, 1932-33. The period of greatest development and fufillment for the school was during the 1920s and 1930s. Such prominent Indians such as Gandhi were fascinated by Higginbottom's ideas for the improvement of Indian life. During various periods Higginbottom advised Indian princes concerning agricultural techniques. Throughout his stay in India, Higginbottom remained in close contact with his associates in the Presbyterian Church. His manifold public appearances in search of funds brought them increasing recognition from leaders of the Church. In 1939 Higginbottom was elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Chruch in America.
Higginbottom retired in 1945 and returned to America settling in Frostproof, Florida. Higginbottom kept in close touch with developments in India until his death. During the 1950s he unsuccessfully tried to establish a Christian Service Training Center to train missionaries for agricultural work. During his lifetime Higginbottom was widely known and respected.'
'Dr. Sam Higginbottom established the Allahabad Agricultural Institute (now called the Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences) in 1910 as a Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension of Ewing Christian College to improve the economic status of the rural population. In 1942, it became the first institute in India to offer a degree in Agricultural Engineering. The institute was declared as a separate entity from the college in 1918. The Department of Animal Husbandry was the first department of the institute established in 1924. It was an important landmark in the history of dairy training in India as the admission to the first batch of Indian Diploma in Dairying (IDD) was conducted here. After a meeting in Banaras, Dr. Higginbottom and Mahatma Gandhi became friends and started exchanging letters on issues, such as agriculture, poverty alleviation and rural economy. Gandhiji visited the institute in 1929 and sought his advice on several occasions. In the 1930s, the institute was supported by Harvard-Yenching Institute to expand its teaching and research programme in agricultural sciences. About the same time the institute was recognized by the government for a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture science and became affiliated with the University of Allahabad. Another landmark came in 1942, when it became the pioneer institute to offer an Agricultural Engineering degree in India. In November 1947, the institute was brought under an independent "Board of Directors of the Allahabad Agricultural Institute" which was sponsored as an ecumenical body by a number of churches and missions.
The academic infrastructure of the university is organized into six Faculties - Agriculture, Engineering and Technology, Science, Theology, Management, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Health Sciences - which consist of 15 constituent schools, over 60 academic departments and four advanced research centres with emphasis on scientific, agricultural, technological education and research. The university is an alma mater to many notable scientists, geneticist, agricultural engineers and often regarded as the progenitor of Green Revolution in India.
While having completed its own hospital, Hayes Memorial Mission Hospital, the university is in the process of starting a medical college as per Medical Council of India (MCI) norms.'
Robert Treat Paine (1731 - 1814)
'Robert Treat Paine was an American lawyer and politician, best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He served as the first attorney general of the State of Massachussets and as an associate justice of the state's Supreme Judicial Court, the state's highest court.
He wrote: "I believe the Bible to be the written Word of God and to contain in it the whole rule of faith and manners."
He was also a founding member of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and had always opposed slavery: "And ne'er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, while the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.
Hugo Grotius (1583 - 1645)
"He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot managee a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; not he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village that cannot guide a family; not can that man govern a family that knows not how to govern himself; neither can any govern himself unless his reason be lord, will and appetites her vassals, nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God, and wholly be obedient to Him."
(Photo: 'Jure Praedae' from the Yale Law Library)
“The doctrines of Jesus are simple and tend all to the happiness of man.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)
"A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."
> Philantropy and social justice
Robert Treat Paine (1835 - 1910)
'Robert Treat Paine was the great-grandson of Robert Treat Paine, the judge, lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1878 he organized Associated Charities as a way to better coordinate philantropic giving. He believed in selfhelp, not handouts. all his ventures to help the poor and low-wage earner were based on self reliance, part of which was home ownership. A person needed to become part of the community, and owning a home was the best way to achieve that.
Paine sought a way to finance the homes he would build through a unique and wholly American way – the cooperative bank. In his 1904 autobiography Paine wrote that the cooperative banking system he began in Massachusetts in 1877 was based on the Philadelphia model: “I became president of the Workingman’s Cooperative Bank [in]1880 and guided it for 23 years.” In the Workingman’s Cooperative Bank shares were purchased at $1 each and would earn $200 at the end of ten years. The wage earner was able to save modest amounts, which would earn income to make a down payment on a home.
In his 1971 Ph.D. dissertation, historian David Culver called Robert Treat Paine the most prominent housing reformer in the nation. Culver wrote that the slum became the vivid symbol of America’s class divisions and social problems. Better housing would transmit middle-class values to the foreign-born immigrant and the working-class man.'
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Truly breath-taking and challenging for all of us.
And I will actually conclude this page the way the 11th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews does, the 1st part being about the 'famous' ones and the 2nd part is about the numerous 'unsung' heroes:
"And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us."
Make sure you are one of them, a true Kingdom architect, maybe not known or even famous, noticed or remembered... but still God reecognizes you fully.
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