A Call to Hope
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” - Phillipians 4:13
According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, hope is a desire accompanied by the expectation of or the belief in fulfillment. At its etymological root, hope is the anticipation of success; it is the personification of entrepreneurialism. For Bob Williamson, founder of 13 successful businesses, including Horizon Software International and Honey Lake Plantation Resort and Spa, hope goes much, much deeper.
A Personal Hope
The child of a dysfunctional family, Bob Williamson was clinically diagnosed as a sociopath by age 18. “My childhood was very dark,” he said. “My father was very abusive. He wanted my brother and me to be mean, and he succeeded in making us so. I became very sadistic. I started drinking at age 12; I was an alcoholic by age 14 and a drug addict by age 17; I was married and divorced with a child by age 19. A court-appointed psychiatrist told me that I was on my way to becoming a serial killer and that I was an incurable sociopath without a conscience.”
On a downward spiral of violence and drug use, Bob eventually came to the end of the line through a head-on collision that landed him in the hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries. It was through this circumstance that God brought him to his knees.
“I befriended a nurse named Lydia,” said Bob. “She was one of the first friends I had in my life. She would bring me books from the library, one of which was the Bible. I was full of anger and hate, but as I read the Bible, I discovered that Jesus Christ was nothing like what I thought He was; rather, He was full of love and hope—two things I had never possessed. I came to Philippians 4:13 and gave up. I threw the Bible down and called Lydia to take it away. She put her hands on her hips and said, ‘Jesus is God. He can do anything he wants. He can change your sorry tail.’ Through that I confessed my sins, asked for forgiveness, and changed my life.”
After his salvation, Bob became a voracious student of the Bible, absorbing Christian principles and putting them into practice in his life. Through a series of menial jobs at factories, Bob realized that biblical principles applied to every aspect of life, including professional conduct in the workplace. Working his way up from hourly labor to plant management, he began to have aspirations of owning his own company.
“I quit my job,” he said. “My wife wasn’t too happy, but I told her that I could do anything through Christ. Philippians 4:13 had become my life verse, and I was willing to put my trust in its promise. I started a little paint company in my basement by borrowing a thousand dollars on my credit card; six months later it was a multi-million dollar business. I went on from there and established 13 other companies, the last of which I sold for 75 million dollars.”
Contrary to popular opinion about what makes a man successful, Bob knows that true, lasting success is only found in Jesus Christ. “Most people are wrong about success. I’ve slept on the side of the road in the freezing cold, eaten in missions, and bought my clothes at the Salvation Army. I’ve also flown on private jets, stayed at the finest hotels, eaten at the finest restaurants, and had every material possession that anyone could want. The dictionary defines success as the attainment of wealth, fame, power, or some significant achievement. My definition of success is the attainment of peace, joy, and love through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It can be found in a mansion or a mobile home, a cardboard box or a castle. Success is salvation through Jesus Christ.”
A Professional Hope
While it may seem that Bob became a multi-million dollar man overnight, there was quite a process through which he acquired his fortune. Due to the lack of mentorship in his life, Bob looked to the Word of God for answers both in his personal and professional walk.
“Once I became a Christian, I didn’t instantaneously become a gregarious entrepreneur,” said Bob. “I’ve always been a loner; I never had a mentor. My business acumen came directly from the pages of Scripture. By studying the Bible, I learned to be a wise businessman.”
Realizing that he needed to follow the example of successful men, Bob patterned his life after King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes became both his business plan and the blueprint for his professional success.
“I sat at the knee of King Solomon,” said Bob. “The mission statement for my companies came directly from the Bible. I asked myself, ‘If Jesus Christ came to earth and started a business, what would His mission statement be?’ My professional standard of conduct grew out of that hypothetical divine entrepreneurial enterprise.”
Bob is an empire builder. Not only has he built multi-million dollar companies several times over, but also, in accordance with Matthew 6:19, he has built an empire in Heaven, one which neither moth nor rust will corrupt.
A National Hope
In the face of national turmoil and political uncertainty, Bob has created an outreach ministry geared toward renewing America’s hope in God. Based upon the Great Commission, the goal of the Jesus Alliance is to start a revival in the United States that would spread across the world.
“President Reagan once said that America is the last best hope of mankind,” said Bob. “Morality has sunken to an all-time low, and the United States is no longer the shining light of hope. With corruption, incarceration, abortion, and divorce rampant in American homes and families, people have nowhere to look. When I was without Christ, I wanted to commit suicide, because I had no hope. The Jesus Alliance can provide the hope that humanity so desperately needs.”
Launched in March 2014, the Jesus Alliance is an international prayer coalition. An organization built upon restoring America’s hope, it is prepared to stand in the gap for the salvation of men and women across the country.
“It’s all about Jesus,” said Bob.
“If we can change the hearts and minds of men and women about Jesus, the culture will be easy to change as well." Bob Williamson
"We’re trying to get people to renew their faith in Christ and realize that in all four Gospels, in the last chapter of every book, the last thing Jesus said before He ascended to heaven was to preach the gospel and make disciples. We are simply reminding the body of Christ to witness. It burns my heart every day to think about the 1.1 billion lost people around the world, many of whom have never heard the Gospel. So many people are hung up on their next business deal or going to a party or playing golf. The urgency of the Gospel is gone. Our goal is to rekindle the fire, to reawaken the hope of an eternal home.”
Partnering with groups, ministries, and businesses across the country, the Jesus Alliance has formed a strategy for social media. With a goal to reach the 1.1 billion people across the world that have never heard the Gospel, Bob asks businesses and corporations to join the fight.
Bob said, “We encourage marketplace people to become a part of the Jesus Alliance. I believe that business leaders will lead the next Great Awakening. Business leaders have a tremendous influence upon their employees. By standing up for Jesus Christ and being counted with Christianity, business leaders impact more people than they realize. Wealth, power, and fame can only go so far; standing up for Christ will last.”
THE BASIC TENANTS OF BOB’S MISSION STATEMENT
- Jesus Christ came to earth to serve mankind. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service.
- If Jesus Christ had a product, it would be of the highest quality imaginable. We will develop and provide the highest quality product available.
- Jesus Christ would offer fair prices: fair to Him, to His customers, and to His employees. We will offer fair prices.
- Jesus Christ would treat everyone the way He’d like to be treated. We will treat clients, employees, and vendors with honesty, integrity, and honor.
By: Jessica Burchfield
Jessica Burchfield is the contract Communications Coordinator for Clearwater Christian College, a freelance writer, and a professional photographer based out of Tampa, Florida.Read More Articles by Jessica Burchfield