• David Osteen

Respect the Book: A Chick-fil-A Story

I worked at Chick-fil-A for almost 10 years. I had many opportunities to talk to people about the Bible. My first boss worshipped God differently than I and played in the church band, and one of the topics he liked to discuss most with me was instrumental music in worship to God. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; etc.) There was a period of time where our debate was getting rather intense, and he rested his position on the fact that in the New Testament, in regard to instrumental music, “It doesn’t say not to…”. A reasonable, mature, logical and safe conclusion; right?

I will give those who have never worked in a fast food restaurant a little inside secret here; there is virtually no work or task, and I mean nothing, that is not regulated by instructional manuals or guidebooks. This is MOST applicable to food preparation itself, because the food is the brand. The only way for someone to walk into 1 franchise and receive the same experience as if they walked into any of the other 1000 is if everything is done exactly the same. The same ingredients, the same preparation, the same cooking procedures, EVERYTHING! In Chick-fil-A, the standards and procedures were laid out in what is called the “Chick-fil-A Handbook”.

Now after I had worked there several years I developed a procedure of preparing and cooking the filets of chicken better than what the handbook stated. My boss did not like this. I showed him exactly how I did it, how much better it was in the cooking of the chicken, and showed that the finished product was better than the traditional way. He was adamant that the way in the “Handbook” was how I HAD to do it. He commanded me to follow the “Handbook” because it was after all… the authority. To respect the owner -Truett Cathy, and to respect my boss – Him, I had to respect the book.

He walks in one day shortly thereafter to find me using the “Super Dave” (as I was affectionately referred to as) procedure instead of the “Handbook” procedure. He angrily starts telling how I am doing it wrong, how I am supposed to do it how the “Handbook” says, and that I am not doing it how the “Handbook” says to which I calmly looked him straight in the eye and replied, “But the Handbook doesn’t say NOT to do it this way.”…….. That didn’t go over so well. In fact, I was probably never closer to losing my job there then at that moment in time.

He understood immediately that I could care less about the chicken cooking process, and that my point was to his argument for using instrumental worship in service to the Lord. Using his own words and standards I had demonstrated the fallacy of the point he made over and over and over again. God doesn’t have to list for us all the ways “not” to do something. We can understand that with a “Chick-fil-A Handbook” and cooking chicken; why can we not understand that when it comes to “The Bible” and worshipping God?

The tragedy of this true story is that in the end, he had a higher respect for the “Chick-fil-A Handbook”, than he did the Bible. He was unwilling to apply, what he so obviously realized, to his faith and obedience to God. Over 10 years later he still both prepares chicken, and worships God, the way he did 10 years prior. He would have fired ME if I continued on in willful disobedience; yet he continues ignoring the truth. Not logical, mature, reasonable or safe; is it?

Our God is a holy God. He is a God of commands and a God of standards. He is a God that seeks true worshipers who desire to worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) We are to worship Him in the name (that is the authority) of Christ (Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17; Gen. 4:2-7; Lev. 10:1-2; etc. etc.) The only way we can be true worshippers is by offering true worship, and the only way we can do that is by knowing and doing what and how the handbook (Bible) instructs us.

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