Ron Batts Story


   My name is Ron Batts, and I consider it an honor anytime that I have the opportunity to share what God has done in my life. My view of God has changed through the years, and that's really what I want to share with you today. I'm going to take you through a fifty-year journey in about twenty minutes. So bear with me, since we're going to travel fast. But first, I want you to understand how my relationship with God and my success in my career, along with some of the failures I experienced, that totally bound everything together.

   I'm going to start back, when I was a young boy and my first experience with God was going to my grandmother's. My parents would take us to church and Sunday school. I guess that's when I formed my first real impression of God. He was the god of wrath and the belt. That's the best way I could describe it; because that was how the man preached and I loved the Bible stories in Sunday school. When we went to church and I was six or seven years old, that preacher would nearly scare me out of my soul.

   For those who are dads here, research has shown that your son's impression of God is basically what you represent. So I mixed my dad and God and came up with a god of wrath and the belt, which I received frequently because I was not the best behaved boy and that was our life as a family. We talked about God a lot in our house, and we went to church like a lot of American families did for Easter and Christmas.

   I was confused during those early years and this was not due my parent. I dearly loved my parents, and they have gone on to be with the Lord. I thank God that I'm part of that family. They lived through the depression, so they had an understanding of what life was about and didn't have a lot of room in it for God. It was about success, and you can be anything you set your mind to be. It was also about having a big house and a big car, and lots of other things because they were very poor during the depression. My desires and my drive were to be about success, while obtaining the power of position and money. When I was in junior high school with my best friend, Dick Montgomery, he asked me to go church with him. For the next four years and during my junior and senior years of high school; I attended church faithfully and began to get an understanding of God in a different way. There was this thing called prayer. I didn't really understand how prayer works, but knew they were answered; because that's what I've learned through the church.

   I went away to college and had my second experience with God and I began to treat Him like a spiritual vending machine. What I mean to say is during the week and on weekends, I was all about partying and having a great time; but I would remember God when it was time to take an exam I would pray fervently, for God to help me with this test.

    Surprisingly, I would do pretty well on the test. I thought I had a nice separation layer between my partying and when I needed God, I just hit the right combination on that spiritual vending machine and claim the blessing later. In 1971, I graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and began my new career. My focus at that point was on my mission statement about becoming a millionaire by age of forty. That doesn't sound like a lot of money in today's economy; but in 1971, my first job out of college paid $7,000 per year and that was really good money. So for me to audaciously say, that I'm going to be a millionaire nineteen years from now.

   In 1975, I got married; I got married to a truly wonderful Christian woman and my career began to skyrocket, but I didn't have a lot of time for God. I was working 7 days a week, and my wife would say, "Honey, won't you come go to church with me?" 

   I replied, "Oh, no, I'd love to but here's a third thing and God's going to have to wait." You know, I'm doing this for us. I'm working 7 days a week and I'm driving my career, so we can have a great life together. Then when things calm down a bit, I'll go to church with you and we'll be together with God."

   Well, things really took off and by 1976, five years after I graduated from college; I achieved things that were just amazing and worked for a large New York stock exchange corporation. At twenty-six years of age, I became the youngest Divisional President in the history of that corporation; I was also recognized as the youngest president of the division of a New York stock exchange listed company in United States of America. My wife kept working on me to go to church with her. They came to me and said, "Okay, we have an opportunity where you can be a Divisional President, but it's going to involve relocation.

   I said, "Yes," and He said, "Well, don't you want to know where it is?"

   I replied, "No. It's a Divisional Presidency and the answer is yes."

   They said, "Don't you think you need to talk to your wife about this?"

    I answered, "Why should I?" Because in my opinion, I was in control. This was all about me and she should be blessed to be with somebody as talented and doing as well as I was. That was the attitude that I had. So I went home and basically announced to her where we're moving to. She was very upset, since she'd never moved away from her family. I took her a thousand miles from home and told her, it was all right since we're going to get a bigger house, we can make more money and I'm going to be a Divisional President.

   She began to work on me again about going to church, and I got very sick. A man from her church came to see me and I thought it was odd for a man I didn't even know, to come and talk to me. He came back time after time. He was a man of great patience, and his name was David Macy. He came to see me in the hospital when none of my business associates would. David led me to Christ. On April 22nd, 1979, I accepted Jesus as my savior. I didn't say I accepted Jesus as my Lord.

   I said, "I don't think so, not now, I have a lot going on in my life and I really can't be that bound up in this work."

   But I did get involved in the church and did this as a decent thing for my wife. Then another great opportunity came along in 1980.

   They said, "Okay, you've done a great job being this Divisional President for us. Would you like to move to New York City and be the number two person in the entire multi-billion dollar corporation; or would you rather move to the West Coast and turn around the black sheep division of the company?"

   I said, "Well, I'll take the black sheep division because I'm going to make a bigger name for myself and it hasn’t made profit in a number of years. It hast all kinds of issues going on, that I will deal with."

   So again, I didn't ask my wife.

   I just walked in and said, "We're moving to the west as far as you can go. We're moving from Pennsylvania to Washington State." She wasn't very happy about that, but I said, "Look, it's a bigger job and we get a bigger house, more money and when this works out, I'm going to start spending the time with you in church. I promise, we're going get to that."

   She said, "Oh, okay, I'll go."

   Well, the first year was pretty tough, but we turned it around from losing money to break even. We made money in the first year, the second year; third year, and in the third, we tripled the profit. My boss came out and we had one of those strategic discussions. He had a view of what should go on next in that particular enterprise, and I had an entirely different view. I've told him I had an entirely different view and it became animated. Then it got heated and I used some language that my dad taught me from working in the Navy yards. I made it very clear to him what I thought we should do. He told me that I needed to go pack up my office.

   I said, "What are you talking about?" He answered back, "Because you're fired."

   I said, "Wait a minute, you can't fire me." I'm the golden boy of mercantile. I have skyrocketed, and the youngest Divisional President in history of the company! I've turned this sorry operation around out here and tripled the profits, what do you mean?"

   He said, "Because of your mouth and your heart and your attitude." "You're not the man we need in this company." When you had nothing but a rocket ship to jump start your career, you have known nothing but setting one promotion after another, a bigger house, and more money and better cars. Then all of a sudden, you're told that you're not the right man with the right heart, and that's pretty humbling. So I met God for the fourth time and He was the God of comfort. I had to call my wife to come pick me up, because my car was in the shop. I had to clean out my office in boxes and my wife had to come get me. I'm standing by the street, like some kind of cast off from society, with my boxes next to me. You know what I did? I went home and found that Bible I'd never taken time to read dusted it off and I went into the woods.

   I cried and said, "God, I am so sorry. I'm so sorry for what I've done and Lord, I need You just help me,"

   He did, and it wasn't long before I had a new job and shortly after that, I was called to be the president of a major chain of Viking stores. I thought, God, there you are, that spiritual vending machine. We go back close to the family, and quickly went back to my old ways; and found some new ones that were not so good. Again, the power, the position, and the fame really got to me, and then I had the opportunity to buy my own company.

   I met a Venture Capital guy and he said, "If you had an opportunity to do something, I would like to back you, just call me and consider it done."

   I did and we bought a company. We went through three rounds of financing where they can put more money in, telling me how great I was and every time they put more money in; I put more money in also. I put everything I had into the company and at thirty-eight years of age I did it. I went over one million dollars. Those were the good days. The bad news is, everything I put into the company was all I had and no reserve. We're talking today about a banking crisis. People may not remember, but back in the early 90's, we had another banking crisis. Just like the people who had a very stern experience, that's what happened to our company.

    We were no longer considered leverage as ventured capital or private equity, and the bank said, "We're pulling your line of credit."

   We said, "Well, you can't pull our line of credit."

   They said, "Watch us; we're pulling your line of credit."

   We nearly collapsed like a house of cards and the venture capital guy said, "We're also going to sell the company."

   I said, "I don't want to sell the company, because we were going to sell the carpet".

   They outvoted me 3 to 1 and we sold our company that I had great reservations about and my reservations were true. They were scammers that came in and bought the company, and signed a lot of papers. They took everything out of it and within 6 months the company went bankrupt and so was I. Everything I had worked for my entire career, I put it into that company was wiped out just like that.

   Another job came up though and I announced it to my wife, "We're moving to New Jersey. I got a great opportunity there."

   She said, "Have fun, I'm not going,"

  I asked, "What do you mean you're not going?"

  She said, "I have moved several times to follow you from one end of this country to the other and you promised me faithfully that you're going to get involved in the church; and you're going to be the man that God has called on you to be. You've done nothing but basically laughed about it, and deceived me about it. Your lifestyle is not good and you know it," and she also said, "I'm not going."

   I accepted the position in New Jersey and for a year, we went through marriage counseling. I commuted back and forth through Charlotte and then one day, I was served some papers at the office that said, "Not going to work, I'm filing for a divorce." That's setback number three, because the first one, I was fired from my golden boy position, made a million dollars and put it all into the company and then lost everything. Now, my wife has filed for divorce.

   So I told the divorce attorney, "I want to give her everything,"

   The attorney was so frustrated with me, he almost quite, and that’s a true story. He said, "You're ruining my reputation."

   I replied, "Well, I don't know about your reputation, but I know what I have done to this woman after 16 years of marriage. I've made her life a living abomination and I want her to have everything.”

   I gave her everything and found myself living in six hundred square foot apartment in New Jersey, broke and broken. I had nothing left, not even a dime and $50,000 or more in debt. One thing my wife liked to do was spend money. I not only gave her everything; but I took on all the debts she owed and paid them off. I was not in a good situation at this point. God gives us the direction, so we can look at things and figure them out. That's how I was treating the Bible. I've read page six, and a lot of page sixty and go to the Bible study read, and talk about the Bible; but I never understood the continuity of it.

   I made a promise to God and said, "I don't really understand a lot of what's in here; but I know if I'm faithful to read it, you'll help me, and teach me."

   In 1992, I read the Bible cover to cover. I read a little bit every day and within the year, I read the entire Bible. I read the Bible for the next four years. I'm now on to the sixteenth consecutive year of reading through the Bible. Every year I read through it, I learned something new I began to understand God's instructions in that word.

   I remarried and we moved to Dallas in 1994, to do a startup for a company. They had no retail sales and put them in the retail business. Again, it took off, flourished and we were just doing amazingly well. Then the company decided that we're going into the mall business. We were ready into the North Park Mall in Dallas.

J.C. Penny found out about it and said, "If you open that store, we'll throw you out of J.C. Penny's." So they said, "We're not only opening more stores and so, Ron," he said, "Your mission has been to build the company, we're not going to need you anymore." So now, it's 1997 and in the midst of the Hager Company and received a call from a recruiter.

   He said, "We have a job for you. We really want to talk to you about it, but it's in Ohio." The company is *called Things Remembered, and I listened while we went through a long contract discussion and negotiation. They offered me the presidency of Things Remembered. I talked this over with my second wife.

    I said, "What do you think?"

   She said, "Well, I think it's all about what's right for our family, and not how much more money you're going to make." Because it was more money than I've ever been paid in my life. She also said, "What's right for our family spiritually?" So we told them it would come down to what was right for our family spiritually.
   They hired a consultant to take us around to different churches in the Ohio area. We went to all these churches and we just couldn't get comfortable with it. My tactic was having courage to say, we really can't get comfort, I just threw up another road block.

   I said, "We want this and we want that."

   They just kept saying, "Okay." The attorney almost fired me and said, "You know what? This is embarrassing." He said, I’m not asking for another thing. If you want to ask for something else, you ask for it. I'm done; this is just out of balance. This is crazy. They're just giving everything you want. What more do you want?"

   I thought about it and I said, "You’re right." I called my wife and said, "I just don't think this is right for our family. This money is awfully tempting, based on what's happened in my life and you know what's happened financially. We're still recovering, but I just don't think this is right."

   She said, "I'm with you, then turn it down."

   So I had to call them, Saturday night and tell them I would not be their boss and said, "I understand you've given me every single thing I've asked for; but we just can't find peace without our church. I'm going to have to turn it down."

   The second big decision I made that night was to let the God command and guide my life. I've made a lot of money and I've always been able to get at eight percent profit, or even to 9 percent; but I never could get to that 10% plus because I always had something that came up. When I turned down more money than I'll ever make in my life, I didn’t know if I could make a commitment. During tomorrow's Sunday service in our church, I took a red eye flight back so I could to be there tomorrow and commit to God from this day forth. We really didn't have the means to do it, but we're going to do it and let God work out the rest.

God has gifted Ron in business and in building the kingdom. Ron Batts is the CEO of Operation Care. Operation Care International (OCI) exists solely to help the homeless and impoverished around the world. They facilitate worldwide opportunities to experience the love of God and the promise of eternal life.

Ron Batts Hearing His Voice Testimony

Ron Batts Testimony