By now you likely know that S. Truett Cathy, the beloved founder of the popular Chick-fil-A restaurants, died this morning. He was 93.
With more than 1,800 stores and $5 billion in annual sales, Truett will be remembered by many as an entrepreneurial genius, a fast-food pioneer and an astute man of business. His rags-to-riches story should inspire anyone. Opening a diner in Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946, Mr. Cathy launched the now iconic brand on a shoestring. Along the way, he worked hard, invested wisely and enjoyed immense success. The Chick-fil-A restaurant near the Focus campus is almost always busy, with a line of cars snaking around the store, regardless of the hour of the day.
For those of us who knew him, or those who are devoted customers – “raving fans,” as we’re known – Truett Cathy will be remembered as a giant of a man. But it won’t be because he made a good chicken sandwich or did the many things that lead to a successful company.
He’ll be remembered because he cared deeply about the right things.
He loved and cared first and foremost about Jesus Christ.
He loved and cared about the Bible, and used God’s wisdom and principles to inform his own, both at home and at the office.
He loved and cared about Chick-fil-A employees and their families, giving more than $32 million in financial assistance to them for everything from medical bills to food and rent. His commitment to closing all the restaurants on Sundays was an acknowledgement of both his desire to keep the Sabbath and give his employees time with their families.
He loved and cared about the sacred institution of marriage, believing that healthy homes lead to happy and successful lives. This is why he opened the WinShape marriage retreat center in Rome, Georgia. He understood that marriage is a long journey and that couples need help and encouragement along the way.
He loved and cared about children, especially the most vulnerable among us. It was this passion that led him to open 13 foster-care homes and a camp that’s ministered to over 18,000 children since its inception in 1985.
So, yes, I appreciate the good food (probably too much, in fact!), that you can buy at Chick-fil-A, but it’s the love and caring that he put behind the food that I appreciate most of all.
Truett Cathy loved and cared about the things Jesus Christ loves and cares about, and now he is with Him, face-to-face.
Thank you for your wonderful example, Truett, for proclaiming the Gospel openly and boldly, demonstrating so beautifully that the Bible and business can go so very well together.