Dr. Stanley Tam
United States Plastic
WHAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT IN ALL THE WORLD?
At the young age of twenty, Stanley Tam read that the emulsion used on photographic film contains silver, and that sixteen tons of that metal are washed down the drain each week in photographers’ fixing baths all over the nation.
“I was stranded and broke, except for two gallons
of gas and thirteen cents, God, what shall I do?
“There ought to be some way to collect that silver,” thought Stanley, an enterprising prospector. Tam soon built sample collectors to offer to photographers and X-ray labs, trying to persuade the owners to install his collectors in their tanks. He agreed to split fifty-fifty with them on the profits received from the silver retrieved.
Initially, his potential customers thought it was a joke and called him, Hi-Ho Silver! Eventually though, some agreed to give him a try. He was now in business. One week later he was broke. Four other companies had tried to make a success at what he was doing and had gone bankrupt.
The year was 1936 and Tam was desperate. He began to pray. “God, if you’ll take the business and make it succeed, I will honor you in any way I possibly can.” So, with 37 dollars he set up his factory in his spare bedroom to manufacture the silver collectors for wasted silver.
Soon, he was on the road trying to sell the idea. It wasn’t easy. He was 170 miles from home. “I was stranded and broke except for two gallons of gas and thirteen cents. God, what shall I do? I am at the end of my resources. I heard a voice say, ‘Start for home. I’ll see that you get there,’” recalls Tam on how he accepted the challenge and started to head toward home.
He spent his last 13 cents, a nickel on a hamburger and eight cents on gas. As he headed home, he remembered his father warning him not to pick up anyone, since he was robbed by hitchhikers three times.
Along the highway he spotted what looked like a bum. For some reason he pulled over and picked him up. It wasn’t a bum, but a farmer who had enough money on him to buy enough gas to get them home.
Tam was taught a lesson that night that he has never forgotten, that God had His hitchhikers along life’s pathway to meet his need if he would do one thing. To step out and obey God when He spoke to him. The good Lord has come through for Stanley ever since.
Four years later as the business grew, Tam decided he needed a senior partner. He went to the local lawyer to draw up an agreement and the lawyer thought he was crazy. He went to another lawyer who finally agreed to write up the partnership.
Tam decided his senior partner would be God and to everyone’s disbelief he would put it in writing that 51% of the profits would go to Missionary and Church work. Over the years, Tam’s businesses flourished as his faith continued to increase.
In 1955, Stanley again heard the Lord speak to him. “Stanley, what is the greatest value in all the world? He knew the answer, a soul. “Stanley, if a soul is the greatest value in all the world, what investment can you make in this life that will pay the greatest dividends 100 years from now?” He thought of his home, some money in the bank, investments he had in two other companies, and the silver business. They would go back to rust and dust or into other hands. The only investment he could make that would pay off 100 years from now would have to be in eternal things.
Then he heard, “Would you be willing to turn your entire business over to Me?” Then his eyes were opened to a new truth: God didn’t want it for Himself, He wanted to transmute his early wealth into eternal treasures. “Thank you Lord,” he said, “You can have it all,” recalls Stanley.
Tam’s faith continued to stay strong, though, some years later his doctor gave him the tragic news, “You have terminal cancer.”
“Give it to me straight, Doc, how much time do I have left?” asked Stanley. “Eighteen months,” whispered the doctor, “At most, two years.”
Stanley cried out to the Lord that night in prayer. Then it happened, he felt a sensation so beautiful throughout his body, he was being healed. Once he awoke, he wanted to tell the nurse and doctor that the surgery would not be necessary, but who would believe him.
The next morning the doctor came into his room and told him, “This is amazing, we’ve done 18 biopsies, checked and rechecked. Mr. Tam, we weren’t able to find so much as a trace of cancer anywhere in your body!” A miracle.
Over the years, many wonderful things have happened in the life of Stanley Tam and those around him. He has successfully built from the ground up four businesses, United States Plastic, States Smelting, Industrial Safety and Tamco.
At a very healthy and exuberant 80 years old, Tam spends 25 weeks a year on the road around the world giving talks to churches and missionaries. He typically gives six talks per church.
When asked, of all your accomplishments in your lifetime, your great family, your sincere respect within your church, your giving of over one million dollars per year to the church’s work, and several successful businesses, what is life’s greatest riches? “That’s easy,” replies Tam without a pause. “It’s something that won’t cost you a dime, yet it can give you eternal life.” What, Stanley, please tell us. “Why of course, IT’S YOUR SOUL, and it’s priceless.”
Tam shares his incredible story in detail in his autobiography “God Owns My Business,” along with his most recent book “God’s Woodshed.”
So, what possibly could be on the horizon for the man who refuses to slow down? It is simple, it is to introduce at least three new people to Christ each day around the world through his church work and missionaries. Why that comes out to over 1,000 people per year. His response, “Oh, yes it does, oh, yes it does.”
There is no doubt that Stanley Tam, an energetic, caring man with a tremendous heart and unwavering faith will continue to touch the lives of thousands through helping others uncover THE GREATEST GIFT of all.
United States Plastic
* reprinted with permission from The American Dreams Collection and Jim Bickford