There are two types of Christians in the world today… those whose faith is part of their overall character, and those whose faith shapes their character. Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy fell into the latter category. Before you knew him as the founder of the top chicken restaurant in America, Cathy taught Sunday school at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Georgia, where he often said that the Bible was his guide-book for life.
While many people acknowledge that the Bible is God’s Word and His instructions for living, few actually put it into practice. Cathy not only taught Biblical concepts to his Sunday school class, he demonstrated them in how he lived, and how he conducted business.
One of the hallmarks of Cathy’s Chick-fil-A restaurants is that they are closed on Sundays, thus allowing employees a day of rest, and a day to worship. This practice is a demonstration of Cathy’s faith, as Sundays tend to be the biggest day of the week for most restaurant chains. Yet, God blessed Chick-fil-A’s yielding of the most profitable day to His worship. Chick-fil-A sells more fried chicken products than most fried chicken chains.
The benefits of closing on Sunday cannot be overstated. For a full day, crew members need not worry about being called in, management need not worry if the store is property operating, and maintenance personnel need not worry if the fry vats are working. For one full day, every single employee is able to take the load off of their shoulders and rest. Cathy afforded his employees the opportunity to take a day of rest, to worship, and to relax in God’s grace.
Yet, Cathy’s faith is expressed far and above his decision to close his restaurants on Sundays. In his personal life, Cathy was a foster parent for more than 30 years, and took in more than 200 foster children through his WinShape Homes. His WinShape Foundation also provided college scholarships, and supported marriage seminars to help the younger generation achieve success, and new couples to have strong marriages.
Cathy’s faith wasn’t about personal piety. It was about helping others walk worthy of the Lord. Cathy’s books not only taught business success, they taught readers to inspire others and raise Godly children. It was about reaching out and impacting those around him.
So, here’s honoring a man who personified a life of faith. Cathy allowed God to shape his character by applying the principles taught in the Bible to his life. He truly was a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. As a result, modern Christianity had a witness, that you could serve God and prosper, and that there is more to life than the next quarter’s earnings. Along the way, he impacted the lives of countless foster kids and at-risk youth, inspired Christians to live better, and provided us with the most delicious chicken sandwiches ever.
We can’t all be Truett Cathy. We can’t all build a national franchise, and achieve business success. We can, however, build our foundation out of a faith in Jesus Christ, and build on that foundation by applying God’s Word to our lives. And, while we all can’t create multi-million-dollar foundations and pay for hundreds of kids to go to college, we can all inspire the people around us to look to the Lord, and live a better life.
Truett Cathy was laid to rest today, and I guarantee you that at some point, the preacher referenced how he “didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” I am thankful that’s not all he will be remembered for. When your life is over, what will you be remembered for? Your business or financial success? Your personality? Or how you impacted people’s lives for the better?