The Table Podcast

Faith, Work, and Fast Food – Classic

Dr. Darrell Bock and Jeff White discuss Faith and Work, focusing on how faith in the workplace at Chick-Fil-A helps the world to flourish.

An introduction to the “For the Life of the World” project
A new perspective on “being in the world but not of the world”
Three common responses of Christians to the culture around us
A different perspective: living as exiles in the world
Oikonomia: understanding our economies within God’s household operation
Viewing God’s creation and economy as a gift to the world
Transforming the world through our everyday work
The relationship between faith and vocation
Chick-Fil-A: more than just a chicken sandwich
How Jeff White became a Chick-Fil-A operator
Values in the workplace
Advice for pastors and teachers in equipping business people
Prioritizing responsibilities and serving employees
How a younger generation can change the city
Mentoring through vulnerable presence with others
How becoming a Christian changed White’s family life
Advise for aspiring entrepreneurs and business people
Serving the community and giving back
Helping young people find their place in God’s redemptive work
Dr. Darrell Bock
We’re going to do a few things tonight; you’re gonna see a little 20-minute video clip from a series called “For the Life of the World”. This was produced out of – well, by several people actually. It’s a seven part series. You’re gonna see the first show of seven. You can find the rest of it online. We think it introduces the theme of faith and work in a pretty effective way showing some of the values that we’re talking about.

Then Jeff White of Chick-fil-A and I are going to do a little interview like you would do at a chapel and that’ll be followed, you can see the mics up here, by a time where you can ask us questions.

Keep eating, but watch the video. Here we go.

As I said that was part one of seven shows that are a part of that series that are designed to discuss faith in work. What I thought we would do in the second part of our time together is to interview someone who’s given his life to his work and has worked hard to integrate faith and work together.

One of the problems that we have in the church is that many pastors don’t quite know how to interact with and talk about the work that people do, which is where they spend the bulk of their time.

What we do is we create a world that is actually a reflection of a secular kind of thinking where there’s the sacred stuff we do at church and then there’s the stuff we do with most of our life. That division is really a problem, because everything that we do is supposed to be honoring to God.

When we were created in Genesis 1 the first exhortation besides multiplying and filling the earth was to exercise dominion over it; to be good managers of the creation, or the garden, into which God had placed us.

To talk about the meaningfulness of work and the integration of faith in that work, where your work has intrinsic value because you’re doing something that serves people, is an important way of thinking about how you go about your work. Because most people when they think about work think about what work does for them as opposed to how work gives.

What I want to do is invite Jeff White up to come and join us here at the table and he’s got a little video for us to see first and then I’m gonna interview him for about 15 minutes or so and then we’ll take about 15 minutes’ worth of questions and then we’ll be wrapping up. Hopefully they’ve got the video cued up and we’ll take a look at it now.

And you thought it was just about cows that say, “Eat more chicken.”

What you’re seeing is a reflection of a value about how people serve in very common ways that makes you think about why you do what you do.

Let me put it another way; when you go out to churches and you’re preaching to people in the pews and they’re asking why God has me here and what is it that I’m supposed to be doing with my life? You’re supposed to have something you can say to them that is more than merely saying, “You’re designed to avoid hell.” or, “You’re designed to think about one day when you’ll be taken from this earth.” No. God has you here for a purpose. That’s what we’re gonna talk about with Jeff.

Jeff, why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you became a chicken man, okay? [Laughs]

Jeff White
I’ll try to condense it down to 20 minutes.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Jeff White

Well, first of all it is an honor to be here tonight. I’ve seen that video many times and it still moves me, ‘cause I can’t believe that I am a Chick-fil-A operator. It’s just one of the best things that’s happened to me in my life. It’s part of my testimony, because it allows me to be who I am and who I was created to be.

I wanted to be a policeman, a Dallas policeman. My dad was one for almost 30 years. I grew up here in Dallas, off I30, and God closed the door on that. This is another story.

I started working at the restaurant and I was majoring in criminal justice at UT at Arlington and answered an ad to be a busser at Chili’s by Ranger Stadium at that time. I started bussing tables for Chili’s and a year after that I became the first male waiter that Chili’s ever had and just took off in the restaurant business from there; got into management and travel around with them and then went to La Madeline for about four years.

I came to know the lord one year before I left La Madeline. The folks at La Madeline saw Jeff White one way and then the next day he’s totally different? “What happened to you?” all I could say, there’s a song, I forgot the name of the group, “Just Say Jesus”. I had no – I didn’t have much more knowledge, certainly not any wisdom, so I just said, “Jesus, that’s what happened.”

That was a Sunday morning. On a Monday morning I went to work for my first day as a Christian. Before I went to work I went to Marta, I think was the name of it, to buy a Bible. [Laughs] That’s what happened there at La Madeline.

I work a year or so and my immediate supervisor, I was a General Manager at the time, told me to quit talking about Jesus so much. I wasn’t beating people in the head with a Bible or anything, but I – ‘cause I had a lot of different folks working for me, so I have a very tender heart for people with different lifestyles and I’ve always been one about unity.

So I said, “I’m not gonna stop being who I am, but I understand what you’re saying. I’m under the authority of my boss and I definitely respect that.” Even Jesus when he stayed in Jerusalem to preach his parents said, “Let’s go” he goes, “Yes” so even Jesus was under authority of his parents. I believe in authority.

So I’m driving down the road one day, “God what do you want me to do at La Madeline? I can’t go to church very much, they want me to work more on Sundays.” I’m driving down the road and the cows on the table were on a billboard, the cows you have there, and I’m going, “What is Chick-fillah?”

There wasn’t such thing as the internet so I actually had to call on the phone and say, “What’s up with this?” and I don’t know if – he said “Well, you can actually own your own business.” I go, “I don’t have enough money for that.” and that’s a totally different story too.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money, ‘cause I was just a regular guy from old East Dallas and they liked me for some reason and they liked my wife. ‘Cause after they decided they liked me they go, “It’s… let’s see how you guys interact in the interview process.” It was like an eight-hour thing with us. It took them five months to hire – to bring me on as an owner and they liked me and they take their time.

That’s how I – the cows. I really love the cows.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Talk about how you view your work and how you try and make your business a reflection of the values that you have.
Jeff White
Well, that would take a – I try to get this down narrowly, ‘cause it would take – ‘cause there’s a lot right here I would love to share, and I’ve done it before. I do want to say that I feel like it’s an opportunity for me every day to work for him. Colossians 3:23, “Do your work _____ it’s for the Lord rather than for men.”

I’m sitting at church on a Sunday it’s hard for me to sit. I want to be up here on stage with my pastor. If Kim’s husband is up there I want to go up there and talk with him, ’cause I – so therefore I have to wait for Monday morning and I love Monday morning. I love Tuesday morning. I love every other day of the week. Sunday is just fuel for me, because I’m gonna go in Monday and I am gonna be Jeff White, a Christian, a man who loves Jesus who just happens to have 85 people, or so, working for me and I can be who I want to be with that.

What do I do? How do I make that work? Matthew 16:24 says, “If anyone wishes to come after me he must deny himself” – uh-oh.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Take up his cross.
Jeff White
“And take up his cross and follow me.” So take up the cross is it 16 hours a day? Is it eight? Is it 12? How many hours are in a day? Twenty-four.

Why would I want to waste the eight hours at work and not do anything? I’ll say, “You know what? It’s 24 hours.” That’s a high calling for us all to do that 24 hours.

Ephesians 4:1 says – Paul says, “I implore you” and that’s a pretty – _____ test and a study professor that’s a pretty strong word.

Dr. Darrell Bock
It’ll work.
Jeff White
That’s not encouraging you.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right. [Laughs]
Jeff White
He’s imploring you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Okay, so I’m gonna walk in a manner worthy, but I’m not gonna start at work. Right? I’ve gotta make sure at home I’m doing it right. Okay?

I wasn’t doing it right for a while I can tell you. My wife had to take me out to dinner and say, “You know your girls don’t really want to be around you, ‘cause you don’t have enough patience for them.” or whatever. I said, “Okay”. I’m a great business man, but just don’t look at home, you know.

They tell me you can’t be an elder or anything in church if you ain’t doing it right at home. I said, “God, help me to be that man I been called to be.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith. Act like me and be strong. Let all you do be done in love.” That’s my new life verse. I took that to heart and now I need to teach other men – and if you’re over 40 you better be mentoring somebody. I’m over 50 so…

That’s a calling of mine, too, is to mentor. I take that, my cross, up every day and I’m excited about Monday morning and I’m gonna be – I am what I am. Paul says that too, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”

Dr. Darrell Bock
If you – I mean, we’re in a room full of people who plan to teach in the church. What advice would you give to them as they think about addressing people like you in the pew and what can the church do better to help you be the person you want to be as you work from Monday to Friday?
Jeff White
There’s a lot of meat on the bone in scripture, is there not? Can we get real? Can we talk about things that nobody wants to talk about? I mean, what kind of church is this? The Fluff, the fluff, the fluff? I’m a man. My girls know that if something comes on TV that daddy shouldn’t look at I’m gonna turn. If a girl’s not dressed right, if a… you know. Or if I’m not treating someone as I would want to be treated, Luke 6:31, I mean, it’s very important that we walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
Dr. Darrell Bock
What would you want pastors to understand about what you do from day to day that they sometimes don’t address in the pulpit, but could?
Jeff White
I really want to understand how to a – life applicable Dr. Hendricks observation, interpretation, application. Think I might have missed one there. Teach us how to apply his word as I approach someone who is really, really different than me.

If I run into someone who’s Jewish and doesn’t believe the Messiah has come how am I gonna react with that person? How do I interact with someone who is living the homosexual lifestyle?

I think a lot of that, for me, I just look at it in three ways; I want to know how to live my life, how to love well and how to lead. So live, love and lead would be the three things I want to make sure that I’m doing right. Teach me how to do those things.

Dr. Darrell Bock
One final question and that is; as you think about what you do at your work – you said you had how many people work for you? Is it 85?
Jeff White
Eight-five, yeah. I wish I had 100. I’m understaffed, so…
Dr. Darrell Bock
[Laughs] Anyone lookin’ for work?
Jeff White
Yeah, come on! Come on here.
Dr. Darrell Bock
[Laughs] So how do you view your care of them? I’ve heard some people who are managers in business say two things about pastors; “I wish pastors sometimes would visit me at my work so they could understand what I do from day to day.” and the second thing that I hear is that, “The people that I am responsible for, or that I minister to, are like my flock; I’m there to care for them.”

I guess what I’m asking you is how do those two pieces of advice strike you as ways to help you do what you’re doing from day to day?

Jeff White
I can’t believe this, but I wasn’t sure if I was gonna be able to read this, but I am gonna read a quote. If somebody wants to tell me who it is you get five Chick-fil-a cards.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Jeff White
You can tell me whose quote this is. This is about – this is – how do I do that? I make sure I manage my time and I control my plate. I’m already – I know what’s gonna go on my plate for 2016.

The first thing that goes on my plate every year is the word no. I say no. That’s what good leaders do; they know when to say no. ‘Cause I want my time focused on my family, and my people who work for me.

“If anything has kept me on track all these years it is being skewered to this principle of central focus. There are many things I can do, but I must narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret to concentration is elimination; only do what only you can do, because the less you do the more you accomplish.”

The less I’m doing in my restaurants from the day to day tasks, things that I used to do in the old days, the business is too complex now. Stanley actually took this from Dr. Hendricks and he made that big, so this is Dr. Hendricks’ quote.

I was blessed to spend many lunches with him over the years at my restaurant and I knew him well. I was with him the Friday before he went home. That right there is huge, because if I do a few things – I don’t want to say – this is humble. If I do a few things great I’d rather do that than do quite a few things good. The enemy of great is good.

So control my plate and take time. When it’s time to go in my restaurants I try to answer as many e-mails as I possibly can and Kayla can tell me, who’s right there, it’s like I don’t have much time, ‘cause I’m getting pulled in different directions by team members and customers and this and that, so I’ve had to be very particular about my time and my calendar is very important to me.

Dr. Darrell Bock
We’ve got mics here at the side, so if you have questions for either of us related to faith in work or things you want to ask about the video we’d love to entertain those, so feel free to come forward. Let me keep going here while we’ve got the time. That is as you think about people who are, in many cases, although if you look in the room you’ll see people of all kinds of ages, but as you think through people of a variety of ages, but particularly a lot of young people, what advice would you give them starting out where they are.
Jeff White
Well, first of all we need you. We need you. Just like it is – Don’t think you can’t change the city. Just like it said.

Me, I mean, just I had a vision of this project that I got going on. It’s going to happen this March 26th. I think is it really – yeah. I’m gonna have – I’m meeting with the Chief of Police at Dallas Monday morning, okay? Me? Yeah, because I’m gonna have an event scheduled already with Chick-fil-A and the Dallas Police Department and it’s gonna be huge. It happened just by getting people around me and getting the vision for what I wanted to make it happen.

Dr. Darrell Bock
What are you gonna do?
Jeff White
[Laughs] It’s a Chick-fil-A connect race and it’s gonna be a 1K fun run, a 5K and a 10K and it’s gonna benefit a non-profit organization called Operation Blue Shield, which brings the citizens and business leaders of a city together with the law enforcement to create safe neighborhoods. So this is gonna raise money for that.

We’re gonna have – I’m partnering with Concord Church in South Dallas, my pastor and Jeff Warren; they’ve already been swapping’ pulpits and so we’re gonna bring those churches in. We’re gonna have black and whites serving police officers on March 26th.

I’m gonna have Chick-fil-A cows there. We’re gonna be – and it’s gonna look like a Chick-fil-A race. It’s like, “Is this really happening? Yeah, it is!” so…

Dr. Darrell Bock
Are Chick-fil-A cows really fast?
Jeff White
If we’re not eating more chicken they are really fast, yeah!
Dr. Darrell Bock
Alright, over here.
Jeff, you had mentioned mentoring is very important to you. What is your approach to mentoring and what are those mentoring relationships look like throughout the store?
Jeff White
Yeah it’s not gonna – and mentoring somebody is not gonna take up too much of my calendar, ‘cause I don’t want them to have the pressure of every Monday or every whatever it is. It’s a matter of just spending some time with somebody, but what I’ve done is I’ve taken the last four of my employees came to a voluntary Bible study, ‘cause I’m the employer, “Oh, don’t tell the government that I have a Bible study goin’ on.”

I took them through Stu Weber’s book “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” and we had videos and there were four of us and now I’m gonna have probably seven or eight just go around in mid-January. I actually put it on my plate every Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:00 for eight months we did it; we went through every chapter.

As Andy Stangman says, “If you’re over 40 you better be mentoring somebody, male and female.” So that, for me, is just spending time with them and really just allowing God to speak through me to these guys. ‘Cause I have a lot of – anybody can say they have experience as a married man or anything, but you may say, “I have experience with that.”

Well, I have evaluated experience with that. I evaluate my life and I’m very transparent and I want people to – I’m ready for criticism. That’s very important. I’m transparent, vulnerable, so they see where I failed in my marriages and my fatherhood and all those kinds of things.

I had my wife come to the very last meeting and she kind of shared with them how I have changed, so if we’re called to be Christ-like we need to be sanctified and we need to be taking this stuff off; all the sin that so easily entangles us, and fix our eyes on Jesus. Just spending time

Dr. Darrell Bock
How do you – you talked about your family. You said you had three girls, I think 16… how old? 16 to 12, right?
Jeff White
Sixteen, fourteen and twelve.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Sixteen, fourteen… how’d you do that? That’s exactly two years apart.
Jeff White
You’re asking me?
Dr. Darrell Bock
Anyway, so you said becoming a Christian changed not just you and the way you work, but also your family life. What did it do to your family life?
Jeff White
Yeah. You want me to cry right now…?
Dr. Darrell Bock
No. [Laughs]
Jeff White
Kayla’s – Kayla knows a lot of it, or some of it. Anyways when I say that, Kayla works for me, she’s my brand new Marketing Director, her first event.

Thank you. It made me realize how short – how I was falling short at home. God opened my eyes says, “Hey, you want me to – you want to see who you are? You dive in my word – the word’s here. No. I like the paper version. The words here, “You better spend time with me and allow me to speak to you through your word and you better be ready for criticism from your wife, because she’s gonna help me.”

You know she was – put in this marriage together. She was – and I hear people say this a lot of time, but she really is smarter than me, really. But we have different types of wisdom and we just work of each other that way. She tells me when to be quiet, I’m talking too much with the girls, but being transparent is really one of the biggest things.

What is the culture telling a man you gotta be? Strong, right? Forget that. Strong mentally and physically is – I don’t care less about that. It’s all about being spiritually strong for your family, because this world – the main problem with this whole world is fatherlessness. I was at home, but I wasn’t spiritually there. I was physically there, but not spiritually there.

Now I’m leading good enough, as Dr. Hendricks’ son said at his funeral. His son said, “Dr. Hendricks always struggled. He thought he wasn’t the best dad he could have been, ‘cause he traveled a lot.” And then his son says, “He was good enough.” So I just want to be a good enough dad.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Go ahead.
Hey, I’m Mikey.
Jeff White
Hey Mikey.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Hey Mikey.
In my hometown there isn’t a place for kids to have fun. There’s no place for, you know, like a Chucky Cheese’s or a… anything where kids can go and just have fun besides like McDonalds. What would be your advice for someone who may have a dream of starting something like that in the city?
Jeff White
Yeah. What are you passionate about?
Providing places for kids to have fun.
Jeff White
Okay, so that’s gonna take an entrepreneurial spirit. What can you do – where are you from?
Baytown, right outside of Houston.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Oh, wow, okay, Baytown, that’s right around – close to where I grew up. Go ahead.
Jeff White
Well, I mean, I’m not – really I think Drew and Kathy is the real entrepreneur here. All I did was inherit and business and I’m kind of taking and putting my own spin on it, but you’re gonna have to come up with something that you feel – ‘cause once you have fun you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t ever – I don’t work anymore I have so much fun.

You need to do what you love to do. I shouldn’t say love. That’s Agape… I don’t want to, you know… like.

You gotta be careful when you say love you gotta be – I want to be very purposeful. But like; you’ve gotta like what you do. You’ve gotta like what you do.

That’s not an answer to your question –

As far as franchises do you think it’s better to go for a franchise or is it to start your own thing?
Jeff White
I’m extremely biased to Chick-fil-A. I love Chick-fil-A, so I mean, yeah. I mean, Chick-fil-A is different. We put in where we – Chick-fil-A will buy the land and so forth, but I think Chick-fil-A’s the best kept secret in the restaurant industry, without a doubt, or any business for that matter. I would try to be a Chick-fil-A operator.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Explain the difference between an operator and a franchise.
Jeff White
Dr. Darrell Bock
Can you do that?
Jeff White
It’s the same thing. We just became franchisee’s this year, okay, so I’m a corporation, J. White Restaurant Enterprises, so –
Dr. Darrell Bock
Okay, whoa.
Jeff White
Which the IRS says one thing, a different part of the government says another thing. Chick-fil-A’s made it through all that stuff and we’re okay, so Chick-fil-A operator is our original title and now we’re considered Franchisee’s, because they need to continue to separate corporate from us, ‘cause there’s been a lot of legal things going on, so I’m a franchisee now, but I still –
Dr. Darrell Bock
Welcome to the party.
Jeff White
Dr. Darrell Bock
[Laughs] Part of what you do is to say that you want people to have an experience at the restaurant, so that’s more than just walking up, ordering your food and having something to eat. How do you do that part of business?
Jeff White
Three parts to that; it’s operational excellence. You walk in the door and we want to give you the basics; good food served quickly in a clean environment with attentive and courteous team members.

We want that to be – which is actually a lot more than a lot of other places do. If we can do all of that in one shot. It’s very difficult to find people that want to serve guests, ‘cause it’s really hard. Kayla could give you many stories. That’s the first part; just that’s the basics to me.

Then you got this other pillar of the business called “second-mile service” based on Matthew 5:41 “If someone forces you to go the one mile go with him two.” We want to anticipate guests’ needs. I see a mom in the parking lot with a couple of kids and this and that; go out there and help here. Let’s anticipate needs.

Then the last thing is emotional connections marketing, which is exactly what I’m doing right here. My goal for you guys to be emotionally connected to Chick-fil-A and you’re gonna know that it is more than a chicken sandwich now, it’s all about souls and it’s all about me walking into my business and caring very much about that person that’s washing the dishes or breading that chicken.

I love my people. I know every one of them by name. That’s basically whatever question you asked me I guess I answered it.

Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. I’d love for you to kind of take us inside your thought process on a couple of things, but, one, as you’re deciding for 2016 coming up and how you’re gonna reach the community or serve, really, the people around you, Christians and non-Christians, kind of what that looks like when you’re strategizing with your team for the year.

Then, two, just maybe you can’t answer this, but what percentage of profits does Chick-fil-A give away? I mean, you guys give away tons of stuff. I’ve never met a Chick-fil-A person that wasn’t handing you something.

That’s unusual in business. If you go to return a product half the time people won’t take it back. So I think you guys are a light even just for a consumer.

And then what were some of the impacts of that that you’ve seen in your life?

Jeff White
Yeah. Would you repeat that first part? ‘Cause I went back on the –?
Yeah. In 2016 in your strategizing, “How are we gonna serve the people around us?” The city of Dallas, maybe this police thing; what does that look like to sit around the table and have a conversation to what level of profits you guys are actually giving away in doing that service?

That’s something that’s hard for people to think about; that’s sacrificial. Yet you’re gonna be debt-free this year, you said, Chick-fil-A Corporate. Three what is some of the impacts you’ve seen from that in your lifetime?

Jeff White
2016 for me is going to be, again, very controlled. I want to really take this race that I’ve got going and I want to make it market wide; Dallas-Fort Wort next year and then I hope it goes nationwide to where Chick-fil-A’s putting on races like this where we bring in the blacks, whites, yellow, whatever, all of us, right? Together.

Because if we can take it just a little bit of our country back the rest of it, hopefully, will continue on the way. ‘Cause it’s not good right now. I’m in this for the long haul. I don’t want to leave here until it’s time. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. Yeah, but we are put here to do a job. That’s why Lord is not slow about his promise, is he? He hasn’t come back because he wants more people to come to know him.

My whole deal on 2016 is, again, is winning souls for the Christ through chicken. The quickest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.

As far as giving away stuff and what it costs; courtesy is cheap, but it pays great dividends. Food is really not that expensive to give away, it’s the – it’s writing the checks and not showing up. I’d rather not do that. I’d rather do this; where I’m delivering food and talking and mixing with the community and when guests come in I know a lot of them by name and I know a lot of faces and so forth, so it is about – I know a lot of – I just know a lot of customers that are hurting, so I want to continue to give as much as I possibly can.

I don’t count anything I give through the restaurant, ‘cause it is part of the profits. Whatever I bring home; that’s when it starts. You can start keeping tabs on it. I don’t – generosity – I wrote a whole paper on giving and generosity, ‘cause it’s what I want to do. I want to be very generous, number one, with my time, so…

Dr. Darrell Bock
In working with high school, college, young adults what advice would you give for them? I know you spoke about passion and things like that. How would you diagnose or draw out, for either one of you, in working with college, young adults, high school students in which to say how to do this type of redemptive work?
Jeff White
I think every works’ redemptive. Nothing is – everyone has an important – everyone is a leaders. I don’t care what your state of being is and on what kind of situation you come from; we are all called to make a difference.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah. We did a podcast today with Bill Hendricks on giftedness and I think young people in particular as they hit high school, college, as they’re thinking about what to do with their lives, to understand who they are as people the way, God has made them, what makes them tick, what drives them, that kind of thing; to kind of in a serious way put them in touch with themselves.

Anything you can do to make that happen; put them in touch with themselves and with God and then in the midst of that to have them discover the way God has made them that will make them useful in terms of the way they go about their lives. That’s what you want to instill, I think, in young people.

They have an opportunity for negotiation life and finding those places that sometimes is a little harder to do when you’re further along in life because of the circumstances that life has you in. Anything that you can do to encourage young people to think through their potential and what their giftedness is. Everyone is given unique set of traits that they’re designed to contribute to our creation through and with. That’s what you want to do.

Got time for one more question and I see Roger –

Jeff White
Let me add on that, ‘cause I think it’s very important. Love; these young people need love. They don’t have parents at home together. They might have parents separate, but a lot of them – I have a lot that work for me; they need love, but they need to be taught respect and honor and all of those things, ‘cause they haven’t been taught it at home.

I work with Young Life at North Dallas High School and there are homeless kids that go to school there. I bring some of my leaders there that are only several years older than them and they’re seeing this guy who works for me who made the right decisions and now has insurance and he’s making money and he’s married and he has a job. Don’t go this route. So I bring my people with me who can really relate to them, but they got to see that the decisions they make today matter for the rest of their lives.

You’re a pastor, you’re trying to minister to somebody who’s in a job that maybe they don’t like, but they have and they have it for stability or maybe for the benefits. How do you help that person see their work is – their ministry in helping the economy of God when it’s something that they just – it’s like a 9:00 to 5:00 to them. What can you do to sort of bridge that gap between, “It’s what I do” and, “I can do this as a service to God.”?
Jeff White
Well, first of all I would say pray. Pray, pray, pray. Pray – if this is not where I’m supposed to be, Lord, take me out. I wanted to be taken out of the restaurant business if I had to be. “Show me what I need to do.” But I’m wired for the restaurant business. I can’t be in a cubicle, I can’t be – I had to be up, walking around, doing things. So pray first.

Maybe it is the right job for them. Maybe they just need to get the right attitude, but they’re gonna have to find that out for themselves and I don’t think there’s any excuses whatsoever. You go to work, you do the best you can, and look for a job when you get off. Look for a different job and so forth, but do your best you can where you’re at, ‘cause that’s what God would want you to do.

Dr. Darrell Bock
I like to say to people, “There are very few jobs that don’t matter.” I use this illustration to kind of get you to think along these terms; I eat Wheaties in the morning. Okay? Breakfast of Champions. Alright?

Sorry, that wasn’t Chick-fil-A, but anyway what does it take for you to have your Wheaties in the morning? Just think about that? Think of all the levels of what that involves; there’s the people who grow the grain, there’s the people who make the boxes, there’s the people who make the wrappers in the boxes, there’s the people who truck the material from one place to another, there’re people who build the road so the truck can go from one place to another, there’s the people who work in the grocery store, there’re the people who stock the shelves, et cetera.

The only reason you’re able to have Wheaties in the morning is because all those people have done something to contribute something of value so that you can take that spoon, dip it into that dish, and pull those Wheaties into your mouth and have nourishment in the morning.

I think just thinking about that makes you appreciate the way God has designed the world. He’s designed the world in such a way that people make contributions that on the surface may not seem to be that significant, will never be on CNN, will never be on Fox News, but it contributes to your quality of life in one way or another.

I think if people come to appreciate that the job that they do facilitates that ability – I could ask the question making it more relevant, and your marketing department will be happy if I do.

What does it take to have a Chick-fil-A sandwich during the day and what are all the steps that it takes? People, some of whom work for Chick-fil-A and some of whom don’t, but that sandwich is able – you were able to have that meal tonight because thousands of people did their job.

That’s part of what you want to communicate to people, ‘cause you’re trying to communicate the value of the work that they do.

Work, when it’s done well, is, essentially, service. That’s where can help people appreciate – they think they’re doing a mundane job, but in fact they’re contributing to an oikonomia that is an economy and a way of doing things that makes life more pleasant than it would be otherwise.

I think we take far too much of life far too much for granted and in the process we lose our appreciation for the way God designed the world in which we live in.

Our time is up. Ramey I think you’ve got some things you want to do, so the floor is yours. Let’s thank Jeff for his time.

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Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than forty books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
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