I’m not an emotional guy by anyone’s evaluation, but when I saw the news Monday morning, it brought a lump to my throat and moisture to my eyes.
Truett Cathy, one of my few childhood heroes, has passed on.
Although we share a claim to Georgia as our home, I never had the fortune to meet Mr. Cathy. I’m not one of his personal friends, or counted as one of the young people unrelated to him who could call him grandfather, or even someone who’s seen him in person. I’m just one of the thousands of people who has been touched by his example.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Chick-Fil-A. It’s one of my favorite restaurants, quick service or otherwise. The quality of the food, the friendliness of the employees and the pursuit of excellence that I’ve always seen the company strive for are all reasons why I’ve wanted to work there ever since I was 10. And those are all acceptable motives for pursuing employment at an establishment. But there was always one factor that, in my mind, separated Chick-Fil-A from it’s competitors:
Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays.
There are a lot of reasons to remain open on Sundays. The primary motivator for businesses tends to be, naturally, the financial aspect- the “day of rest” can often be the busiest time of the week for restaurants.
But why choose to give that major source of income up? I think we’ll let Mr. Cathy answer that question:
I was not so committed to financial success that I was willing to abandon my principles and priorities. One of the most visible examples of this is our decision to close on Sunday. Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God and of directing our attention to things that mattered more than our business. (Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People)
There are many today who adhere to religion. There’s plenty of people who call themselves Christians. There’s lots of folks who go to church. But Truett Cathy wasn’t one who simply went to church one day a week and prayed the Lord’s Prayer when he needed a favor from the man upstairs. He was a man who lived by his faith- fully comitted to Christ, he held nothing back- not his money, his possessions, his business or his time.
To list all of the great things he did in his life would take too many words to fit into one article. His resume of awards is pages long. Suffice it to say that, whether teaching Sunday school, running a multi-billion dollar company or taking in foster children and being a grandfather to them, Truett did all in the pursuit of excellence and to the honor of God. He held his beliefs with a firm grip, yet he didn’t hide them from the world. Directly or indirectly, his faith has been the cause of no small amount of criticism. Yet he never backed down from what he believed.
Although there are a thousand more words to say, I’d like to leave you with one of his more famous, yet none the less true for it, thoughts (unlike myself, Mr. Cathy often fitted volumes of wisdom into a very small amount of space).
I’d like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.
Rest in peace