It never fails. I leave church on Sunday, I am hungry, and I am craving a chicken sandwich. I drive up the turnpike and there it is…almost taunting me: “Chick-Fil-A (Closed Sundays)”. Why is it that my cravings for chicken sandwiches are unnaturally higher on Sundays than any other day of the week? I guess it is the concept of wanting what I can’t have. Or it may be that I am a crazy person, but let us reserve judgment until all the facts are in.
S. Truett Cathy is the founder of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain. Cathy is also celebrated as a man of faith, to which his decision to keep Chick-Fil-A closed on Sundays is a testament to. Cathy was by reports a wonderful man, a savvy businessman, concerned about family dynamics, and worked as if he was working for the Lord. Cathy stood on principle, even when principle was costly.
Having worked in the restaurant industry before, I have come to realize how incredible the decision for Cathy to close on Sundays was. In research for a ministry, I did some research on the restaurant industry. I knew some of the trends of the restaurant industry simply through experience but wanted to get some numbers to support my assumptions. I researched the busiest shifts for the restaurant industry in the Oklahoma City area and I found that the Sunday Lunch shift is the 3rd busiest shift of the week behind Friday and Saturday night. Take into consideration that Chick-Fil-A is more of a lunch kind of restaurant and we can safely assume that for Chick-Fil-A, if they were open on Sunday, they would be busy. The decision to not be open on Sundays for the “after church crowd” is just as much a financial decision as it is a principled one. By not being open on Sundays, Chick-Fil-A is leaving money on the table.
Standing on principle is easy, as long as it doesn’t cost you anything. Being principled is easy without sacrifice. It is when God calls us to be faithful in the face of loss that we truly understand what the true definition of “faith” is. How many meetings did Cathy have with how many people who tried to convince him to abandon his Sunday policy? “The free market is speaking” they must have said as they revealed data saying that Sunday chicken would positively affect the bottom line. In a time where the pursuit of the almighty dollar seems to be reaching levels of idolatry and where public confidence in both business and government is at all-time lows, it is refreshing to see that this organization holds fidelity to Jesus and not the balance sheet. Considering that Chick-Fil-A is privately held and family run, I anticipate this principled stand to endure.
Rest well Mr. Cathy. Thank you for your example of faithfulness.