So our Joshua has landed a summer job at Chick-fil-A. We’re so proud of him. He loves the idea of working and earning a paycheck. He loves the idea of grown-up responsibilities. He loves the idea of pursuing something important on his own. And, in this particular case, God has blessed our son with Christian managers, co-workers, and role models, who are – for us as Josh’s parents – the proverbial icing on the cake. (Or should I say, “the meringue on the lemon icebox pie?” Too bad that’s served only in Atlanta now.)
Please excuse my less-than-stellar photo. Josh would never approve of my photographing him at work, so don’t tell him. I had to run through the mall and hide behind a large woman just long enough to get the best shot I could. I’m certain I was inches away from being arrested.
Yes, I try to document all our family milestones. When I’m old and forgetful, I’m hoping that pics like these – even if I’m drooling on them a bit at that point – will spark a happy memory of the boy I still can’t believe I get to raise and love. Next to Jesus and Eileen, Joshua is my treasure. We are blessed, and God is good.
It seems like only yesterday that the world had to say goodbye to the well-respected founder of Chick-fil-A, Mr. Truett Cathy. In 2014 Mr. Cathy died, at the ripe old age of 93, after showing us that a billion-dollar business can happen in America without trampling on Biblical principles and ethics. Cathy ran his organization with excellence. When we lived out in SoCal – as Chick-fil-A was expanding and bringing their chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and sweet tea to the West Coast – Mr. Cathy would fly out to each new store, preside over an overnight campout comprised of the chain’s devotees (on the restaurant parking lot), and then pray over the crowd at the next day’s opening bell. After all of that planned hoopla – brilliantly and winsomely executed – hundreds of loyal customers received hundreds of free meal vouchers to be enjoyed throughout the next year.
Truett Cathy was a leader of leaders. Sometimes he paid a steep price for his stand for decency, particularly as traditional family values came under assault, but he seemed always the optimist who deeply desired to use his public platform for good. And that he did. At the time of Mr. Cathy’s home going, award-winning blogger, speaker, and author Paul Sohn published some “Cathy quotes” which are worth remembering. I’ll pass along to you just seven of them …
“You never know how or when you influence people … We have an impact on our children by what we say, but particularly by what we do. They forget many of the things we say, but they observe everything we do.”
“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources.”
“The unexpected opportunity I enjoy most is the opportunity to turn a frown into a smile.”
“It is when we stop doing our best work that our enthusiasm for the job wanes.”
“I believe no amount of business school training or work experience can teach what is ultimately a matter of personal character. Businesses are not dishonest or greedy, people are.”
“We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed.”
“If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers. If you wish to enrich years, plant trees. If you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.”
Why do such simple yet profound thoughts stir our souls? Because they’re substantive. In an age of feeling-over-fact, these quotes communicate objective reality and value, because they were uttered by someone who possessed wisdom and insight into matters of life and eternity. Christ said: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25). Deep down, you and I long to be standing, safely, on the Rock.
Joshua, when you’re older and you realize that I posted this, know how proud I am of you.
And, for the rest of you, know how dearly loved you are by your highly-imperfect-but-hopefully-usually-smiling shepherd.