Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times." Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." —Mark 4:1-9
Chick-fil-A's recent sell out simply does not make any sense from the standpoint of a business model that seemed bullet proof. But when Occam's Razor sent me seeking for the simplest possible answer to this riddle nonetheless, total depravity did not disappoint.
I've told you before that journalism has been proud to forsake actual profits in exchange for increasingly woke takes on the “news." So there is clear precedent for a level of idol worship in business that can forsake even the almighty dollar.
In Chick-fil-A's case, I believe that idol to be comfort and ease.
We confused its cult-like status within the conservative political pantheon as being the stuff of good soil and healthy crops. And to be fair, the restaurant chain legitimately seemed to heed that call for a time. But we are talking about the narrow gate after all. Permanently staying in the lane that leads to that gate is undeniably challenging, just as the Lord promised us it would be.
The soil thinned. The rocks appeared. The thorns grew. Instead of staying vigilant, Chick-fil-A got tired of wielding the pruning hook that each and every one of us is charged with wielding as Christians in order to stay on a righteous path. It all just got too hard.
So much has changed so quickly since Mitt Romney refused to eat a chicken sandwich in 2012, the time when Chick-fil-A's owner was anointed rock star status among the brethren for defending marriage. I'll bet the fight felt noble and necessary at the time, but not only has the culture made little ground in restoring dignity to that institution, things have actually gotten worse. What, haven't you heard? There's 666 genders now and Mayor Pete is actually a thing.
Yes, it is our charge to shine our light all the brighter when the challenges grow the hardest, but that's not what always happens. We are weak. We are confused. We are selfish. Just like Chick-fil-A. So we should pray that God's mercy humble them once again to put their trust in Him just as we do for our own lives. Because simply put, the Chick-fil-A story is our story.
We all think we can do God's plan until we get punched in the mouth. Then what? It's funny how God's question to us, “Who do you say that I am?," rings differently in our hearts depending on time and circumstance. It's as if there is a serpent slinking about whispering in our ear “Did God really say?" over and over again until we can't remember or don't care what our original answer to God's question actually was. Could it be?
Welcome to Chick-fil-A. Welcome to America.