Drive-ins and drive-thrus.

  • Its commonplace for us to talk to a body-less voice and give a order for fast-food. Some in our ranks do this daily.
  • Many Christians feel it is their duty to support faith-based Chick-fil-A and sit in the drive-thru line—the long drive-thru line—for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. (I can’t recall ever seeing a short line at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru.)
  • My wife is compelled to stop at any Sonic and order a Route 44 drink. (Turn around! I just spotted a Sonic on that cross street!) She loves their ice.

Sonic. Chick-fil-A. And of course, the haven for every parent of a preschooler: McDonalds. But let’s not forget the one who started it all: The Pig Stand.

The Pig Who?

The Pig Stand. America’s first drive-in restaurant. And in spite of claims by Howard Johnson, it was the first restaurant franchise. In September 1921, Jesse G. Kirby did something no one else had done before. He opened a restaurant where you never left your Model T. He reasoned, “People with cars are so lazy, they don’t want to get out of them.” And he was right. This idea was unheard of, but it took off.

In less than three years, The Pig Stand had multiple locations in seven states. Kirby and his partners hit a gold mine. They kept franchising, and by 1934, there were over 130 Pig Stands in nine states.

Picture this. Teenage boys in white shirts and black bow ties ran out to your car to take your order. They would hop on the running board of the car, sometimes even before the car pulled to a stop. They even earned a nickname: carhops. The chief item on the menu was, best as I can tell,  a sandwich with roasted pork, barbecue sauce, and some sort of sour relish. They also introduced the world to the onion ring, the chicken-fried steak, and Texas toast.

The Pig Stand was exceedingly popular, yet here we are in 2018. I’m guessing if I asked for a digital show of hands, none of us have ever heard of The Pig Stand.

So what happened?

Others came afterwards, grabbed the idea, and did it faster. Flashier. And The Pig Stand died a slow death, closing the last two restaurants in 2006.

It’s nice to be popular, but popularity doesn’t last. But when our popularity fades, the importance of what we’ve accomplished doesn’t fade.

For a season, Jesus was extremely popular, but His popularity was short-lived. He died a cruel death. The popularity of Jesus—or lack of popularity—is immaterial; what matters in what He accomplished!

If what you’re doing gets a lot of attention, good for you. But what happens when the popularity fades? Who you are in Christ is what truly matters—and who you are in Christ is what will last.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

And your service for Him—whether it is appreciated by others or not—will ring through eternity.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

You will be popular with me if you share this post with others.

Sources: Texas Monthly and