In almost a decade of writing for Pulpit Helps, Bernard R. DeRemer has chronicled the lives of more than 5 dozen of God’s choice leaders from across recent centuries. One great leader who has stood out to me is R. G. LeTourneau (1888-1996).
He writes that R.G. did not have a promising beginning. Throughout his school days in Vermont he was plagued by a chronically short attention span (today it would be called “Attention Deficit Disorder”). But one outstanding characteristic was his burning desire to pull apart toys to see how they worked. This action was prophetic for his future.
His formal education ended at the 8th grade when he left school for an iron foundry. In spite of his early shortcomings he became an inventor, businessman, builder, engineer, and a Christian missionary who helped shape the U.S.A. through the mid-1900s. R.G. LeTourneau grew up in a home with Christian values. He said, “I knew the right way but I had forgotten about it.” But following a series of church revival meetings in 1905 he committed his life to the Lord. From that moment on his Christian values grew. He moved to San Francisco where he was shaken by the famous 1906 earthquake and escaped with his life.
After that, he moved to Stockton, California where he began honing his skills as a mechanic and later built a successful automobile dealership. He survived many hardships: a stock car crash, a flash fire in his repair shop, the Spanish flu, a bankruptcy, and his first child died at only 4 months. But he sustained a right attitude.
These issues did not destroy him but forged his spiritual priorities which fostered submission to God. He made a confession, “I had been seeking my own life first.” He began to apply the gospel to his life by fervently seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. This was a major turning point for him. From then on success came rapidly.
He designed and built more efficient earth scrapers, massive frontend loaders, and bulldozers. He is credited with inventing and perfecting nearly every piece of heavy earthmoving equipment in use today. He supplied 70% of such machinery to allied forces during WW II. He founded LeTourneau College (now a University) in Longview, Texas to integrate Christian education into the lives of young people to help them seek to conduct their business and family lives according to the principles of God’s Word.
Also, he established the LeTourneau Foundation to help fund Christian Ministries. He proclaimed, “I think the secret of a real out-and-out Christian life is to fall in love with the Lord. Let’s just ask God to do a new thing in our lives and help us to know Him, to love Him and to worship Him.” From his humble beginning and unpromising start, he went on to achieve great things for the Lord and many others. He serves as a great example for us today to put God first, seek His will, and trust Him. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com. | Back to the blog.
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.