Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy talked about his roots, God's influence in his life and work, and gave a sneak peek of his upcoming book at the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association's 74th annual meeting Wednesday.
"It's been my privilege to feel a calling to serve people, meeting their physical needs, emotional needs and spiritual needs," Cathy told the large crowd gathered at the Gainesville Civic Center.
"And I see absolutely no conflict between biblical principles and good business practice. Some say you can't mix the two, but I say no way. ... I feel like we honor God in our successes and not our failures. He gave that as a gift to you and me.
"I see the Bible to be the road map and blueprint for all life."
He addressed why he closes the popular fast-food chain on Sundays, saying "it's the best business decision I've ever made."
Cathy, 89, said he mainly does it "to honor the Lord and secondly, it helps us attract the kind of people that appreciate having Sunday off."
"You see families nowadays breaking up, with the mom and dad working on Sunday," he said. "... The Lord has blessed us. Today, we have over 1,500 stores in 38 states."
Cathy talked about developing entrepreneurial skills during the Great Depression reselling Coke products for a profit, working his way up "flagging down a Coke truck" to buy a case of the soft drinks.
He also talked about his books, including one under way called "Wealth: Is it worth it?"
"Often times, wealth is a curse ... but it can be used as a blessing," said Cathy, who was listed as No. 236 on Forbes' 2009 list of 400 richest Americans.
But he also is known as a philanthropist, giving away much of his money to charitable causes.
"It is exciting to be in the presence of an American legend in food service and in human service," said Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Gainesville-based Georgia Poultry Federation.
"He's a devoted husband, father and grandfather whose example, influence and leadership will carry on through the ages, as well as amazing contributions in both time and money to churches, schools, foster homes, scholarships, youth development and other worthwhile activities."