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British teenager sells company for millions

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Nick D Aloisio, founder of Summly, speaks with Bobbie Johnson, European correspondent for GigaOm UK at the 2012 LeWeb London Westminster Central Hall, June 20, 2012 (Credit: Vince Kmeron via Flickr)

A 17-year-old’s startup technology company has been purchased by Yahoo in a multi-million dollar deal.  Nick D’Aloisio invented Summly when he was 15.  It delivers automated snapshots of news stories to users on mobile devices and formats articles for small screens.

The teenager has already achieved success.  But will he achieve significance?

On Tuesday of Holy Week we find Jesus teaching in the Temple courts.  He spent much of this day debating with the Pharisees and other religious authorities.  Why were they so opposed to him?  One motive was materialistic: the Pharisees “loved money” (Luke 16:14).  For instance, they hoarded money they should have used to support their parents, a practice Jesus severely criticized (Matthew 15:3-6).  They illustrated the fact that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

In that light, I want to share an unforgettable worship service I experienced yesterday.  J. Ray Weir founded Weir’s Furniture Village in Dallas more than 65 years ago.  His stores have become one of our city’s signature businesses.  Every Christmas and Easter, the company purchases billboards and large newspaper ads proclaiming the gospel.  It seeks to operate with integrity in all its dealings with customers and employees.  Mr. Weir passed away on March 18 at 102 years of age; I was privileged to speak at his memorial service yesterday morning.

When he founded his company, Mr. Weir often told people, “I have a business partner.”  They would ask, “Who is it?”  He would smile and reply, “Jesus.  I try to do everything he says.”  It was his guiding passion to show the world that Jesus knows how to run a furniture business.  Atop the weather vane that crowns one of the Weir’s stores is a finger pointing to heaven.  It was fashioned by the sculptor from Mr. Weir’s hand.  As long as the building endures and the Lord tarries, he will be pointing us to the Lord.

Our integrity is our most essential witness.  We cannot give others what we do not have or lead them where we will not go.  Dwight Eisenhower believed that “the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.  Without it, no real success is possible.”  Abraham Lincoln testified, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.  I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”

If you will live with integrity today, know that others will “see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).