Wayne Huizenga, Jr., Interview: Part 2

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Wayne Huizenga, Jr., is President of Huizenga Holdings, Inc., a diversified company that owns the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League and Dolphin Stadium in South Florida and manages billions of dollars of investments in real estate, marinas, and boat-related businesses. (The picture at the left is of his children.)

Because of divorce in your family, you grew up apart from your father. When you did see him, it was on jets and yachts. How did that affect your perspective on how you wanted to live?

When I was very young, I decided I was either going to try to be this incredible businessman like Wayne, Sr., and marry a professional woman with no desire to have children, or I would take a different path and try to have a family. By the time I was in college, I realized I would probably never be able to achieve the success he had because of the great sacrifices he made. Growing up at shareholders meetings, I heard grandmothers come up to him and say, "Wayne, because your stock did so well at Blockbuster, I made enough money for my grandchildren to go to college." He did a lot for himself, but what he was allowed to create impacted so many lives. Even though we were not together often, I had great respect for him. Some of that came from my mother. So many times, divorces end in bitterness. While there were times Mom was at odds with Dad, she was always very careful to lift him up, "He'd be here for your presentation, but he's out trying to make a better life for you and for your brother. He loves you very much, and that's why he's making this sacrifice." She framed things in a way that made it okay that he wasn't there. It was so important for me that Mom didn't let their hurtful issues or problems come between him and I.

How has your relationship with your dad changed as a result of your relationship with God?

It's given me courage to talk to him about the realities, the good and bad decisions I've made and that I have a plan to fix them. I've told him about times I didn't listen closely enough to God or about how I missed an opportunity to execute.

He respects my faith and is extremely supportive of it. We do quite a bit with our Dolphins football team—he allows me access to build relationships by reaching out and serving others with what we have. Recently 1,575 inner-city kids came to our stadium for a football game. We wanted them to know that we believed in them and had hope for them, that with Christ's help they can change their lives. Using this platform, we gave four or five people the opportunity to speak about their lives and to build relationships with the agencies that serve them on a daily basis to make their lives better.

So what's the most satisfying in all of those things that you get to be a part of and responsible for?

My wife came to have a relationship with God about 16 or 17 months after I did. Then our oldest two children, who are 13 and 14 now, made the same commitments of faith. Recently my six-year old started to profess his faith. I think when I look at what success is it's that my family will join me in heaven for eternity. I've had so many opportunities to share hope; to see people's lives changed as they give themselves to Christ. These businesses are simply an outlet to build relationships to earn credibility and ultimately be a light to what God can do when they come asking, "Will you pray for my family?" Jesus was purposeful. In the opportunities that came his way he would either share a parable or give direct praise to God His father—I think this is what we need to try to do.

What's your greatest personal challenge as you attempt to be faithful to God?

Understanding my role in God's plan. My wife, who is so wise, will often say, "Why are you so stressed?"

I say, "I've got all these things we're working on, and I'm worried about these people."

She says, "Didn't you say this is all God's?"

I say, "Yeah honey, it is all God's."

She says, "Then what are you so stressed about?"

I say, "I'm so stressed because I don't know what my part is and what God's part is. Where does my part of thinking, trying to be strategic, and working hard fit with God picking it up and making it work? I really struggle with where does Jr. end, and where does God pick up."

What do you hope for? What do you dream about?

At our employee Bible study in Palm Beach, only about 20% of our workers come. I dream that one day, we'll have at least 80%. I hope the employees enjoy their work; I pray that they know my heart to feel safe enough to ask me questions or come to me for prayer. From a personal standpoint, I dream about getting the mix between business and family right more often. That's a constant balancing and re-balancing act for me. I hope that my children grow to walk with Christ, because ultimately, Paul, all these things will go away. During Katrina, I saw a man on CNN—he stood in front of the camera. "I lost everything," he said, "My house, my belongings, even my BMW." My heart broke for that man. I thought, "how temporary." A couple of days ago, in his mind, he had the world. Now it was all gone.

You really came to that conclusion before you had your conversion experience didn't you? You felt empty—like it wasn't enough—experiencing that kind of "is this all there is" moment?

I was a happy guy, but I was never satisfied. I liken it to Thanksgiving. You're thinking about the turkey, dressing, and cranberries. You sit down to eat, and you eat and eat and eat, but you never get full enough to pull away from the table. That's kind of how my life was. Give me another helping of this and another helping of that. It satisfied me temporarily, but then the hunger for more kept coming back. A friend told me I had a hole in my heart. He said that I was created in God's image, and that's where God is supposed to live. It's kind of like a black hole in space. It will just keep taking everything you try to put in to fill the hole and will disappear into this deep void. It can never be filled with anything but a personal relationship with God.

<< Read Part 1, Waiting for God's Timing