To Face Eternity with a Smile

Helms, Paul H.

  • Paul Helms describes his work with the Ford Foundation, as well as the impact his Christian upbringing has had on his beliefs, including his belief that giving 10% of his income results in tangible blessings.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Paul H. Helms is a businessman. He is the founder and president of the Helms Bakeries in Los Angeles, California. A native of Ottawa, Kansas, he grew up in Buffalo, and is a graduate of Syracuse University. Mr. Helms has been associated with many community projects, and is well-known for his contributions to athletics. Among other things, he is the president of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games. Though in his sixties, Mr. Helms is himself an enthusiastic golfer, fisherman, and duck hunter, and his favorite spectator sport is baseball. Another of Mr. Helms' major interests is the Ford Foundation.
Last August, I had the rare privilege of flying around the world with Paul Hoffman in the interest of the Ford Foundation. A very special study was made of Pakistan and India. I had read what to expect in these countries but hadn't seen it with mine own eyes. Pakistan with its teeming 90 million, India with its over 400 million. In these countries, only two women and five men out of a hundred can read and write. Think of their problem of trying to understand democracy.
I was struck more forcibly than ever that my God certainly is not the exclusive God of our Christian religion. God Almighty, the supreme builder and operator of the universe, must be their God also. God must give compassion in accordance with their belief. God
must give the same compassion to the billions who have passed on, to the hundreds of millions who are living, and to the billions yet to be born.
We'd studied what can be done in a practical way to really aid these people to help themselves. This trip made me very proud to be an American and to observe what I know will be the permanent benefits of our ECA and our Point Four program. These programs are the most unselfish programs ever instituted by any nation on earth. My part in the round-the-world tour was completely unofficial, so I had the great privilege of personal interviews with officials, citizens, and workers alike, and was unhampered by protocol.
I believe in God Almighty. I believe there's a master plan for the universe. Fortunately for me, I had active Christian parents, and I was taught as a lad to pray, to daily read the Bible and learn short Bible passages. I was taught in my very early years to tithe. My first allowance was ten cents a week, and from this I took one cent to Sunday school. It hurt a little but established in me a lifelong habit. I followed the same tithing program in college when I received from home thirty dollars a month. I believe that one who shares is daily a happier person. His good influence is felt by all with whom he has contact.
I have the great satisfaction that our seventeen hundred coworkers know where I stand. I happen to sell bread and other bakery
products house to house, and in twenty-one years, our organization has grown from thirty-two coworkers to seventeen hundred. A great number of our coworkers have told me that they have followed my plan of tithing. No one can tell me that it does not pay dividends--not only dividends of happiness, but actually it pays dividends in cold, cold dollars of net profits.
I believe when the time arrives to travel the last mile, a person who follows this program can take the trip into the far beyond with a strong steady step and face eternity with a smile.
That was Paul H. Helms, a businessman, sports patron, and chairman of the board of directors of the Ford Foundation Fund for Adult Education.