Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before:  On second thought …

By Patrick G Howard


This word is derived from the Latin – inspirare, meaning to breath into. It is also where we get the word – spirit; as in Holy Spirit. I point this out, because when I write our focus each month, it is less my writing and mostly the Holy Spirit’s. There’s one thing about the Holy Spirit; He doesn’t operate on our schedule.

Unfortunately, I have deadlines to make, and I must prepare the Focus on time; regardless of whether I am inspired, or not. Sometimes when that happens, the Focus just isn’t … focused. I think that happened last month, and I would like a do-over. For that reason, our Focus verse this month will be the same as last.

James 1:22 ~ Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.

Let me explain.


A funny thing happened at the funeral.

I am reminded of the memorial service for Charlie Johnston. I have known Charlie for many years, as he is the father of my sister-in-law. I admit that I should have been there in the moment, but it was a long drive to Waxahachie, it was going to be a long drive back, I was already tired, and I needed to be at home writing the Focus.

My mind kept drifting toward what I was going to write about. I don’t know how long my mind had been wandering, but suddenly, my attention became focused on the speaker and topic of this month’s focus became crystal clear.

The eulogy was being given by the grandson of the deceased, who said something that was clearly meant for me. He reminded me of something Charlie used to say often, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” And while this quote is usually attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, I will always think of Charlie. This quote made me think, we all work in a business – either as an employee or as an owner. What better platform is there to preach the Gospel?


Did I just make you squirm in your seats?

I think it’s natural to be afraid of preaching the Gospel to your customers. There are many fears when putting yourself on the line like that. Maybe you’re afraid of being rejected. You might be afraid of ridicule, or discrimination because of your faith. You could be worried about preaching the wrong message. We frequently fear that there may be a government regulation or company policy we are violating by sharing our faith.

The most likely fear is that we will offend our customer. And while it is highly likely that some will be offended, it is equally likely that there will be even more that are drawn toward you because of your courage and conviction. Now, I’m not talking about beating your customer over the head with your bible. Rather, I’m talking about preaching the Gospel at all times through your actions.

There is a company that does just that. I would get little argument when I say that it is one of the most successful in America. Their corporate purpose statement is bold, unashamedly Christian, and on full display for all to see.

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chck-fil-A.

They make a fine chicken sandwich, to be sure; but their success doesn’t come from the quality of their product. You can get a great chicken sandwich at a number of other places. Rather, their success comes from the customer experience, which all begins with their stated purpose. Their success comes from putting God before their business. Their success comes from being Christians all day, every day, at home, at work and in the community.

There are many who hate Chick-fil-A for their faithful stand and will stop at nothing to help them fail. Try as they may, this company continues to be one of the most successful in the country.


Have you tried to eat there lately?

It feels a little like a game of Frogger just walking between the cars in the double drive-thru lines. And when you get inside, they are packed. But no matter how crowded their restaurant is, the service is always superior. That is why Chick-fil-A does more business in the six days that they are open, than most do in seven.

They are truly an example of how successful a God based business can be.


You may wonder …

Can you build your business to be as successful as Chick-fil-A? Only God knows. Regardless of your measure of success, if you are in business to Glorify Him, you will be successful by the most important measure.

My challenge to you this month is simple. Don’t make any drastic changes in your business this month. Just pray about it. Ask God what honoring Him with your business would look like and ask Him how you can do that. Ask Him how you can preach the Gospel at all times; and to be doers of the word, and not just hearers.

And that is our focus this month.