S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, passed away early this morning. I never knew the man, but I know his sandwich. And I am a fan.
Much has been said today about Truett's life's accomplishments, his character, his faith, and all the lives he touched through his generous spirit. And of course, various news outlets brought up the controversy over Chick-fil-A's support for traditional marriage. But regardless of what you think about that issue or about my favorite Chicken sandwich (I take mine with extra pickles and Chick-fil-A sauce), Truett Cathy was able to do something in life that many Christians aspire to do but few achieve.
We see it often in Christian music. Some artists believe their music is their mission: that the songs they write should only be for worship or evangelism. Others shout that they are musicians and songwriters who happen to be Christians. They want to write and sing about everything—and don't want to be put in a box.
But what if there's a third way? What if there were a way to be a musician or a lawyer or a teacher or a writer . . . or a restaurant owner who happens to be a Christian AND be the best in your field AND use what you do to influence culture and share Jesus with others?
That was Truett Cathy. He ran his company the way he thought Jesus might—at least as best as he could figure from a lifetime spent following Him. And everyone who bumped into Truett or Chick-fil-A was confronted with his Christian worldview. Wherever he set up shop, he shined a light into the darkness—not an obnoxious, overbearing light, but a warm, soft, beckoning light (that may or not be warming waffle fries).
I think Russell Moore said it well today: "The 'closed on Sundays' sign on his store is a countercultural statement that man does not live by bread alone, and there is more to life than a bottom line."
Rest in peace, Mr. Cathy. Tonight, we eat Chick-fil-A in your memory.