Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
Few things bring me more happiness than a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, perfectly golden-brown waffle fries, and a Diet Coke from Chick-fil-A. To say I’m a Chick-fil-A superfan is a bit of an understatement. But it’s not just fried chicken, Icedream Cones, and Chick-fil-A sauce that I love. It’s the company itself, built steadily over decades by men and women who love Jesus Christ and exercise their love for Him and others through their work.
For my book, Called to Create, I interviewed and researched 40+ Christian entrepreneurs and creatives, trying to understand what it looks like to live out God’s call to engage culture through the workplace. In my research, Chick-fil-A came up time and time again as one of the best examples of what it looks like to integrate the gospel holistically into an organization.
While Chick-fil-A is most well-known for their more public acts of faith (being closed on Sundays, for example), a closer look at the business reveals that the founder’s faith was expressed in many other ways throughout the business, shaping nearly every interaction we have with this beloved brand today.
So, what sets Chick-fil-A apart? I believe Chick-fil-A stands out because their leadership views the company as a vehicle for glorifying God and serving others, rather than hoarding glory for themselves. As the company’s founder, Truett Cathy, was approaching his eightieth birthday, his children (all of whom were involved in the operations of Chick-fil-A at the time) invited their mother and father to meet them for dinner at Chick-fil-A’s headquarters. There, the children presented their parents with a covenant to continue to operate the company in a way that would make their earthly and heavenly fathers proud. The covenant read, “We will be faithful to Christ’s lordship in our lives. As committed Christians we will live a life of selfless devotion to His calling in our lives . . . We will be faithful to carry on our family and corporate heritage . . . we commit to operating Chick-fil-A restaurants with standards of excellence in our products, service, and cleanliness.”
The Cathys and their heirs understood something that I think many in the Church overlook today: If our work is to be a calling, we must prioritize the agenda of our Caller above our own. In the case of Chick-fil-A, viewing their work as a calling from God shapes almost everything about the enterprise, including three topics we will examine closer over the next three weeks: committing to excellence in everything, leveraging the workplace to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and embracing the tension between trusting in God and “hustling” in order to find true rest.