As a teenager, Jonathan used his talents to invent equipment for harvesting lettuce. A seed company sold his product, but one day told him that they would no longer be carrying it. He was devastated. But soon after his business started growing, because he was now selling direct to the customer, and the seed company was forwarding all their previous customers of the product to him. What had looked like a terrible turn of events ended up being a blessing. Jonathan’s company has found opportunities for sharing their faith and being a steward with what God has given them.
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When I was about 15, I had a challenge from Eliot Coleman to developing a machine for harvesting baby lettuce. So, I started working on that and spent about three years. And with the help of an engineer got a product that worked really well.
So, in the fall of 2012, when I was 18, we started production. I started selling this through Johnny's Selected Seeds in Maine. They had estimated that we would sell maybe 150 units a year.
About two years in, Johnny's contacted me and said, "We're going to have to discontinue selling the product." And this was just a blow to me. I remember sitting in my truck just kind of crying because I felt like, not only we were having financial problems, but now our one and only customer dropped the product.
So, I felt like we failed. The business is going to close, and it's just going to be another statistic. So, from there, the business just took off 'cause we all of a sudden had–we were selling directly to the customers, and we had full retail price that we were earning on each product.
We were able to develop a website and start selling direct. Then Johnny's was sending all the customers that they had marketed to to us 'cause they were no longer selling it. And it was just amazing to see how the Lord took what I thought was a failure and turn it into a huge success.
So, a few things that we've done are, we ship out thousands of packages every year. So, we put GLOW tracts in all of our boxes with every order that goes out.
Amazingly, had a lot of people contact us and say how much they appreciated it.
The other thing that we do is since we're in retail, we close our website on Sabbath. So, from Friday night, actually 30 minutes before sunset, all the way to 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday night, our website is closed. And obviously, lots of people come to the website during that time, but it says very clear on the page that you come to that the website is closed because of our religious beliefs. And if they want to click and go and read more, they can.
One thing that really affected my view of stewardship and finances is, when I was 18 I read the compilation Counsels on Stewardship. And that was a big blessing to me because it showed the dangers of financial success, but it also showed that God created the system of benevolence for our blessing. So, if we are willing to be used as a channel of blessing to those around us and to the world, God will pour blessings onto our lives, and that channel will just grow and grow and grow and grow.
I also made the decision to tithe our business profits. And I can say I feel like the Lord has blessed that decision tremendously. It's kind of like the example of a pond, if a pond doesn't have an outlet, it just becomes kind of a stagnant, nasty, stinky pool. But, if there's water flowing out, and there's water flowing in, it stays very fresh. And it will stay full.
It's the same with stewardship and the same with finances. If we just horde our money, God cannot bless, and it turns out to be a huge harm to us. But, if we use it as a channel, God will resupply as we give. And then it's a huge blessing to us. Because, as human beings, there's nothing that blesses us more than being a blessing to others.
I am a steward because God is my faithful guide.
View more videos in the I am a Steward series here: I am a Steward