Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Chick-fil-a Does it Again

Submitted by Jim Garner

Chick-fil-a Does it AgainIt’s not just a southern thing any more. America is enamored with Chick-fil-A from their commercials with cows promoting “eat mor chikn” to the busy restaurants that Americans visit at an outstanding rate. It’s hard to argue that they’re not the most popular and successful food chain in America.
But for Chick-fil-A it’s not about all the money and success. In a nutshell, their mission is seen in their corporate purpose where you find the following two statements highlighted and lived out in their business and it’s employees: to “glorify God” and be a “positive influence”. Sounds like church (or should be).  
Chick-fil-A stores are active in all their communities around the country. And even on Sunday. (That’s where you say: “What? I thought Chick-fil-A didn’t open on Sundays.”)
They don’t open normally on Sundays. However, on occasion with a very specific purpose in mind, they will open on a Sunday. Check out some examples of this from an excerpt in an article published last year – “Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday – except in these rare inspiring instances” – by Kate Taylor in the ‘Business Insider’ (December 18, 2017).  
When the world's busiest airport closed for hours without power on Sunday (Dec. 2017), stranding thousands of passengers, Chick-fil-A employees made thousands of sandwiches for people stuck in Atlanta. "While Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, our restaurants open occasionally to serve communities in need," spokesperson Amanda Hannah said in an email to Business Insider. 
This isn't the first time that Chick-fil-A has opened on a Sunday. In 2016, following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, local Chick-fil-A locations broke tradition to open on a Sunday. Employees worked to prepare food for first responders and people donating blood following the shooting at the gay nightclub, which killed 49 people. In 2015, Chick-fil-A locations in Texas prepared free food for responders and others impacted by tornadoes that ripped through the state, killing 11 people.
According to Hannah, when Chick-fil-A opens on Sunday, the company does not make a profit. Instead, she said, it attempts to "do what we can to offer comfort to people experiencing hardship." 
Wow! What a great story of humanity doing a positive thing but with no selfish agenda or profit in mind. What a wonderful opportunity and story of Christians (and business founded in Biblical principles) living out their Christian faith in practical ways that caught the eyes (and stomachs) of so many in need. And it had nothing to do with business but “glorifying God and being a positive influence”.
Hasn’t this always been the mission of the church in the world we live? But unfortunately, we have not always lived this out since Jesus established the Church roughly 2,000 years ago. We’ve often been known more from the world’s perspective as being a people of “no” instead of “yes”, disunity more than unity, hate more than love, and religion instead of relationship.
From the beginning of Jesus ministry, the people who should have known Jesus the best – religious leaders like the Pharisees and other teachers of the law who knew of and longed for the Messiah to come – put up stumbling blocks and barriers rather than bridges that would make a real difference in people’s lives for Jesus and His Kingdom. 
Look at these passages found in the gospels that echo this specific point:
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:9-12)

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest,he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28)
Yes, sometimes we can be given a bad rap in today’s world for the way we live out our Christian faith. And unfortunately, sometimes it’s deserved.  We can get so full of spiritual pride and arrogance that we are so “heavenly-minded that we are no earthly-good”. This must end in modern day America if we are going to make a true difference to impact the world for Jesus Christ both personally and as the Church. 
Take a moment now to examine your Christian faith and witness at home, our church and in the community.  Are we being consistent? Are we being an ambassador to this world that shows and spreads love through our words, behaviors, and attitudes that glorifies Jesus Christ? Are we evaluating things through a filter of religion or our relationship in Christ?

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