Telegraph, Pony Express and John Wanamaker

Rabi Daniel Lapin states that the Jews had a sense of holiness in their personal business transactions. They were instructed to conduct their affairs in “the fear of the Lord.” Today the Christian and, in fact, all in the marketplace could benefit with this approach. The truth is I will not prosper in business if I am not honest. If I am not asking a fair market price for a product or service that has integrity, I might make one or two sales but I will not be in business for long. My customers will realize my lack of integrity and go elsewhere, and tell their friends to do likewise.

Society criticizes business for making a profit. But if there were no profit there would be no jobs to employ people. No margin (profit)…no mission! Businesses that make a profit pay employees, reward the owners risk and in many cases “give back” to the community in many charitable ways. But even the term “give back” implies that it was taken…that it was wrong to take a profit. We don’t seek to take advantage of others; rather we want to help them prosper. When the telegraph was introduced to replace the pony express this was considered a good thing. A new technology made it better for all.

Retailer John Wanamaker was a great example of making things better for all. Darren Shearer writes….“He is considered the “Father of Modern Advertising.” He once was asked, “To what, Mr. Wanamaker, do you attribute your great success?” Wanamaker replied, “To thinking, toiling, trying, and trusting in God.” 

Among his many innovations, he opened the world’s first major department store. He introduced price tags to the retail economy because he didn’t want people to worry about whether or not they were getting fair prices while they shopped. In addition, he started the first mail-order catalog and was the first to run a large advertisement in a newspaper.

Committed to taking care of his people as a reflection of the character of Jesus, Wanamaker was a pioneer in employee benefits programs. Long before these programs were considered standard in corporate employment, his company offered its employees access to the John Wanamaker Commercial Institute, free medical care, recreational facilities, profit-sharing plans, and pensions.”*

John Wanamaker not only planned for his future but he used his profits to plan for the future of his employees.

*May 3, 2015 Written by Darren Shearer

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