J. C. Penney was born in 1875 and grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. He had no idea that one day his name would become a household word across American. His parents were Christians and his father ministered in the Primitive Baptist Church. They instilled a deep and lasting faith in their children. While he was a teenager his family met with financial hardship which meant that he had to quit school and go to work to help support his family. He became a clerk in a local store which later propelled him into a brilliant career as a retailer.
In 1902 J. C. Penney was able to purchase one-third interest in a dry goods store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The town was small with less than 1000 people, but he was determined to do what it took to be successful. He and his wife lived in a tiny attic apartment above the store. Their only furniture was a large empty box for a table and smaller boxes for chairs.
When their first child was born his wife wrapped their baby in a blanket and laid it under a counter to sleep as they worked the store helping customers. Eventually, Mr. Penney would preside over 1700 stores, each bearing his name. His business became the nation’s largest chain of department stores. His secret was in the influence of his godly parents.
He began to refer to his business as “The Golden Rule Store.” His motto came from Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” But life has its troubles. Even though J. C. Penney became very wealthy the depression of 1929 could not have come at a worse time. His stores were doing well, but he had been adding outside interests which were proving to become extremely costly. In order to finance these interests he had to borrow heavily.
The depression prompted banks to request payment of his loans sooner than he anticipated. Cash flow was slowing and he was finding it hard to make his payments on time. J. C. said “I was so harassed with worries that I couldn’t sleep and developed an extremely painful ailment.” His health began to deteriorate which prompted him to go to the doctor. The physician diagnosed him as severely sick. A rigid treatment was prescribed, but nothing helped. Then he was attacked by the spirits of hopelessness and despair, thrusting him into deep depression.
While in the throes, “Suddenly something happened” he recalls. He heard words of a gospel hymn being sung which spoke volumes to his soul. It was like a miracle. He felt as if he had been lifted out of a dark dungeon into the warm sunlight. The words from that song began to heal his soul. In a miraculous instant he knew that God loved him and was there to help him. He declared, “From that day to this, my life has been worry free.” The song said, “God will take care of you, through every day, over all the way; He will take care of you.” For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.