now you can.
“No man actually owns a fortune, it owns him,” A. P. Giannini
When an earthquake toppled San Francisco in 1907, it sparked a fire which destroyed the rest of the city resulting in what many believe to be well over 3,000 deaths and an economic impact in the billions. Tens of thousands of buildings were reduced to ashes and almost 300,000 people became homeless overnight. Four hundred and ninety city blocks vanished, gone, either sifted or burnt to ashes.
Out of the rubble emerged Italian immigrant, Amadeo Giannini. With a couple of barrels and a plank, he began what would become one of the world’s largest financial entities, Bank of America.
Take a walk with me to another time. It’s Wednesday, April 18, 1907, you try to inhale, but you are suffocating in smoke and ash. Your home is pitch black, although it’s morning. Your heart beats uncontrollably from fear, your hand desperately feels for anything to hold on to. Crying out for your children, the ground moves beneath your feet, heaving you against a crumbling wall. There’s no way out, no help in sight, you do the only thing you know to do… pray.
Amadeo Giannini tasted the bitter ash, his eyes burned with smoke, his heart gripped with fear, yet he made the decision to move. He took a risk of going and saving what he could. He kept his head. During the aftermath, Giannini was the only lender capable of helping those left. Bank of America would begin in the streets of ash and despair.
As Christians, we above all people on earth should have confidence, determination, and will power. We should be the first to appear on the scene of destruction with the ability to offer aid. We should be the last to run away, hide, make excuses, whine, complain, become bitter, or angry. We should believe for the best from God, not the worst. We should have faith that never waivers, whatever our circumstances look like.
There is absolutely, undeniably not one mess, one accident, one natural disaster, one terrifying moment, one tragedy, one disappointment, that takes God by surprise or that He can not turn around for you.
I’m asking you today to step out of your comfort zone, give your mess to God and trust Him to work it all out according to His will, not yours.
While he could have become a billionaire and his bank was worth billions when he died, Giannini lived a modest life. It is said that his greatest accomplishment was helping the “little fellows.”
During his funeral, hundreds of average people came to show their respects to the man that lived a life of courageous service.
A. P. Giannini, a man that gave his mess to God and out of the rubble became a legend.