You’ve heard the name. You may have seen the movie. You’ve heard the quote. But you probably don’t know much about the man. And you most certainly don’t know his prosperity principles, which came to me courtesy of a small book he wrote.
The name is P.T. Barnum. The movie, “The Greatest Showman,” the last in a line of movies made about his life. The quote, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” is not attributable to him, there’s no record that he ever said it, and in fact the quote is contrary to everything he stood for.
Barnum is most famous for “Barnum and Bailey’s Circus,” the first three ring circus and “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He was sixty when he began his first circus. Did you get that?! Sixty. Retirement age. Before that he was a businessman, proprietor of several sensational museums, and a politician. It was his career as a politician, fighting against slavery and indentured servitude, that gives us an actual quote that reveals the heart of the man—
"A human soul, 'that God has created and Christ died for,' is not to be trifled with. It may tenant the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab, or a Hottentot—it is still an immortal spirit".
He was instrumental in building the first hospital in his city, built the first Aquarium, and contributed to many charities. In fact, the impetus of the famous Jenny Lind tour that he promoted, (appropriated quite loosely in the movie), was to promote international charities. And along the way, he made a pile of money.
Barnum discovered certain prosperity principles. Certain because they are specific, practical, and universal. Certain because they are certain— proven, tried and proven true. These principles will work for anyone, anywhere, at any time. His book, “The Art Of Making Money” lists twenty-one. I edited them down to a dozen and added my insight to each one—which makes this a rather lengthy blog, but one well worth your time. We begin on this side of “The Door,” and end “Behind The Door.”
1. DON’T MISTAKE YOUR VOCATION
I had a friend, long since departed, that pastored one of the premier revival centers on the west coast. He was quite successful with ministry and money. He also had a terrible temper that he often lost, and one Sunday, in great umbrage of something that someone had said, resigned his church in a rage, reasoning that he could make more money with less aggravation be taking the executive banking position that he had been offered. He went broke. Bankrupt. Lost it all. So it was that he realized his true vocation.
His true vocation was ministry. Bankrupt at age sixty, he took an equally bankrupt church in a poor neighborhood, and in a few years was debt free, living in a luxurious and extremelylarge new home, driving a new Lincoln Continental. His congregation had prospered as he had prospered and everyone benefitted because he returned to his true vocation.
Everyone has a true vocation—one productive, prospering thing that they can do better and easier than anything else. P.T. Barnum’s true vocation wasn’t running a circus. It was promotion. Whether a bill in the house, the American tour of Jenny Linn, his museums, or the big top, everything he promoted prospered because he knew how to promote. What’s your true vocation. Find it. fulfill it, and it will finance your journey.
2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION
Stock in Ollie’s has grown by three hundred and fourty seven percent in the few years since it’s inception. Ollie’s, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a close out store, selling manufacturers over-runs, and whatever the big box stores can’t sell by seasons end. There are deals to be found at Ollie’s, but that’s not why they have prospered. They have prospered because they know where to place their stores. They understand the power of location.
To succeed you have to be in the right location. You may have an excellent product or service but if you are promoting it in the wrong location you will, at best, see limited results, or, at worst, simply fail miserably. With an excellent product or service! Location isn’t everything because there are exceptions, but it is high on the list of the things that cause success or failure.
What’s your right location? Here’s another, deeper, question—has your right location become the wrong location? Your product, service, ministry, may have done well in a particular location, but as that product, service, ministry, or location has matured it has changed. Are you still in the right location? P.T. Barnum lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but his businesses were based on Broadway in New York City. Why? Because that’s where the people and the excitement was, and he needed people and excitement to make his fortune. If your location isn’t right—find the right location.
It’s time to move locations—it’s time to go “Behind The Door.” Before you go “Behind The Door” let me remind you of a spiritual principle that Jesus taught—“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophets reward.” What does that mean? It means that you receive back what you sow into an anointing. I am anointed for many things, prosperity being one. As you sow into the ministry I believe what is good information, (this blog!), will become revelation, and that you will prosper accordingly. Remember—“What you sow, is what you grow!”