Can you image playing college football at Colorado University against Oklahoma and getting knocked out on the field? For a short time, you lie there as the trainers and medical people try to revive you. But you are deep in thought as God speaks to you and tells you that you are going to be a great businessman one day. Finally, you come to and are ushered off the field. Would God take such a moment to speak to and give you a vision?
That's just the way it happened to Al Hollingsworth, who had a relationship with the Lord. That experience was a turning point in his life and one that he never has forgotten. Al's grandfather was a sharecropper in Mississippi, and his parents lived on the rough side of the tracks in Omaha. That knockout experience caused him to get serious about academics, and he proudly graduated with a business degree.
Due to his belief in God's plan for his life, he even turned down an offer to play professional football with the New York Giants in order to pursue business. For a good looking young Afro-American in the 60’s, he chose the road that wasn’t considered cool. But, within a few short years, he started his own packaging business. He relocated to California and hired a beautiful assistant, Hatti, to whom he later proposed. The rapid success of his business drew the attention of the media and other businessmen, as well as the governor's office. He was sought after by various business boards, and he spoke often about how to become a successful entrepreneur.
Though he didn't know it, he was acquiring all the thorns and weeds of notoriety, money, and possessions of the super rich. Al lost touch with the Lord because he was too busy chasing the world's model for wealth. He could not see it, but his egotism and invincible thinking was producing a real briar patch of thorns and its "knockout hit" called bankruptcy. Often the biggest problems that successful people have in hearing God is learning to quiet the noise inside their heads--the drive for success, power, and affluence.
Through the loss of his business, his heart was broken as he spent the next year talking and praying, "Oh, Lord, what have I done? Where did I get off the path of your calling?" He prayed on mountaintops, in the desert, in his car, and in church. He devoured his Bible for answers and direction while asking for forgiveness.
Finally, the Lord told him to return to the packaging business and start over. He realized that this time his business was called to be different. This time he was to pursue the Lord's leading and use his leadership ability, charisma, and charm for ministering opportunities. This time he was to be faithful and wise rather than successful and self-absorbed.
The Lord told him something very profound, which I believe exemplifies God's ultimate purpose for everyone. He said to Al, "You take care of my business (God's ministry opportunities), and I will take care of your business (man's opportunity to make a living, grow in business, and achieve the world's economic standards for success)."
Today, Al's business, Aldelano Packaging Corporation, is successful by the world's view with six plants across the country and has many as 1,500 people on the payroll. There are no cash flow issues because Al is his own banker. But most important to Al and Hatti is their ministry, BOSS the Movement (BOSS stands for Building On Spiritual Substance). The mission is to teach young people about the inner motivation to be successful by God's standards while achieving and living in the world. They travel the world teaching trainers to carry the message forward, especially in Southeast Asia and the United States. This time, they are on the covers of magazines to open the door for His greatest purposes.