Faith without Works

Faith without Works. What does that phrase mean to you? No really? Because when people quote it, they usually never apply it to themselves. They watch people on television live out their dreams, hear people on the radio realize years of hard work, watch people in the movie theaters. They watch sporting events, athletes getting paid to play a game. They go to department stores and buy clothes of people that have worked for years to have their designs recognized. But when it comes to themselves, most people stop before they get started. Having “faith” is not enough.

I’ve put together three examples of people that did not stop at having faith in idea. They worked to make sure the idea worked and more important, made money. Please read, and hopefully you will appreciate the stories.

The first story is about a man that was born in 1890.

In 1920, this man established a ferry boat company, which operated a boat on the Ohio River between Jeffersonville and Louisville. He worked to gather funding, becoming a minority shareholder himself, and was appointed secretary of the company. The ferry was an instant success. In around 1922 he took a job as secretary at the Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana. He admitted to not being very good at the job, and resigned after less than a year. He cashed in his ferry boat company shares for $22,000 and used the money to establish a company manufacturing acetylene lamps. The venture failed after Delco introduced an electric lamp that they sold on credit.

He then moved to Winchester, Kentucky, to work as a salesman for the Michelin Tire Company. He lost his job in 1924 when Michelin closed their New Jersey manufacturing plant. In 1924, by chance, he met the general manager of Standard Oil of Kentucky, who asked him to run a service station in Nicholasville. In 1930, the station closed as a result of the Great Depression.

In 1930, (the man is now 40 years old) the Shell Oil Company offered him a service station in Corbin, Kentucky rent free, in return for paying them a percentage of sales. This man began to serve chicken dishes and other meals such as country ham and steaks. Initially he served the customers in his adjacent living quarters before opening a restaurant. He was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 by Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon. His local popularity grew, and, in 1939, food critic Duncan Hines visited his restaurant and included it in Adventures in Good Eating, his guide to restaurants throughout the US. The entry read:

Corbin, KY. __________ Court and Café
41 — Jct. with 25, 25 E. ½ Mi. N. of Corbin. Open all year except Xmas.
A very good place to stop en route to Cumberland Falls and the Great Smokies. Continuous 24-hour service. Sizzling steaks, fried chicken, country ham, hot biscuits. Lunch. 50¢ to $1; Dinner., 60¢ to $1

In July 1939, this hard working man acquired a motel in Asheville, North Carolina. His Corbin restaurant and motel was destroyed in a fire in November 1939, and he had it rebuilt as a motel with a 140-seat restaurant. By July 1940, he had finalized his “Secret Recipe” for frying chicken in a pressure fryer that cooked the chicken faster than pan frying. As the United States entered World War II in December 1941, gas was rationed, and as the tourists dried up, he was forced to close his Asheville motel. He went to work as a supervisor in Seattle until the latter part of 1942. He later ran cafeterias for the government at an Ordinance Works in Tennessee, followed by a job as an assistant manager at a cafeteria in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

He left Claudia Ledington-Price, as manager of the Corbin restaurant and motel. In 1942, he sold the Asheville business.

In 1952, (he is now 62 years old)he franchised “name of restaurant to be named at end of article” for the first time, to Pete Harman of South Salt Lake, Utah, the operator of one of that city’s largest restaurants. In the first year of selling the product, restaurant sales more than tripled, with 75% of the increase coming from sales of fried chicken. For Harman, the addition of fried chicken was a way of differentiating his restaurant from competitors; in Utah, a product hailing from Kentucky was unique and evoked imagery of Southern hospitality. After Harman’s success, several other restaurant owners franchised the concept and paid Sanders $0.04 per chicken.

Sanders believed that his Corbin restaurant would remain successful indefinitely, but at age 65 sold it after the new Interstate 75 reduced customer traffic. Left only with his savings and $105 a month from Social Security, he decided to begin to franchise his chicken concept in earnest, and traveled the US looking for suitable restaurants. After closing the Corbin site, he and his wife opened a new restaurant and company headquarters in Shelbyville in 1959. Often sleeping in the back of his car, he visited restaurants, offered to cook his chicken, and if workers liked it negotiated franchise rights.

Although such visits required much time, eventually potential franchisees began visiting Sanders instead. He ran the company while his wife mixed and shipped the spices to restaurants. The franchise approach became highly successful; it was one of the first fast food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada and later in England, Mexico and Jamaica by the mid-1960s. The company’s rapid expansion to more than 600 locations became overwhelming for this hard working man. In 1964, (now 74) he sold the corporation for $2 million to a partnership of Kentucky businessmen headed by John Y. Brown, Jr. (a then-29-year-old lawyer and future governor of Kentucky) and Jack C. Massey (a venture capitalist and entrepreneur), and he became a salaried brand ambassador. The initial deal did not include the Canadian operations (which he retained) or the franchising rights in England, Florida, Utah, and Montana (which he had already sold to others).

In 1965, he moved to Mississauga, Ontario to oversee his Canadian franchises and continued to collect franchise and appearance fees both in Canada and in the U.S. Sanders bought and lived in a bungalow at 1337 Melton Drive in the Lakeview area of Mississauga from 1965 to 1980. In September 1970 he and his wife were baptized in the Jordan River. He also befriended Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell.

He remained the company’s symbol after selling it, traveling 200,000 miles a year on the company’s behalf and filming many TV commercials and appearances. He retained much influence over executives and franchisees, who respected his culinary expertise and feared what The New Yorker described as “the force and variety of his swearing” when a restaurant or the company varied from what executives described as “the Colonel’s chicken”. One change the company made was to the gravy, which he had bragged was so good that “it’ll make you throw away the durn chicken and just eat the gravy” but which the company simplified to reduce time and cost. He sometimes made surprise visits to KFC restaurants, and if the gravy disappointed him denounced it to the franchisee as “God-damned slop”.

So who is this interesting man? Who is this person, that after making attempts to earn a living, not allowed to because of circumstances that had nothing to do with him, decided to do something on his own. A person that had an idea, and went through with it all the way, until it became a success??

His name his Harlan Sanders. The company? Kentucky Fried Chicken.

As of 2013, earnings of KFC totaled $23 billion worldwide.

The next man I will speak about is an even bigger example of why you can’t have faith without works.

He was born March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Early in his life his family moved to Missouri, where he was raised. An able student and a good athlete, he quarterbacked his high school football team and was an Eagle Scout. Upon his graduation from Hickman High School in Columbia, Missouri, in 1936, his classmates named him “most versatile boy.” After high school, he stayed close to home and enrolled at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1940.

Following college, he got his first real taste of the retail world when took a job in Des Moines with the J.C. Penney Company, which was still a relatively small retailer. After serving as an Army captain in an intelligence unit during World War II, Walton returned to private life in 1945 and used a $25,000 loan from his father-in-law to acquire his first store, a Ben Franklin franchise in Newport, Arkansas.

In less than two decades, and working with his younger brother, he came to own 15 Ben Franklin stores. But frustration over the management of the chain, in particular the decision to ignore Walton’s push to expand into rural communities, prompted him to strike out on his own.

In 1962 he opened his first store of his own in Rogers, Arkansas. Success was swift. By 1976 the store was a publicly traded company with share value north of $176 million. By the early 1990s, stock worth had jumped to $45 billion. In 1991 the company surpassed Sears, Roebuck & Company to become the country’s largest retailer.

This man took ownership of his own success. His vision of a discount retail store in rural areas was accompanied by the founder’s hard-charging, demanding style. He began his work days at 4:30 in the morning, expected results from those beneath him, and wasn’t afraid to change course or reshuffle his personnel if he didn’t like the numbers that came back to him.

Even in the grips of a recession, his stores proved successful (recession proof). In 1991, as the country was mired in an economic downturn, stores increased sales by more than 40 percent. But that success also made his stores a target, especially for small-town merchants and other residents who argued the giant chain was wiping out a community’s smaller stores and downtown retail. But he took the challenge head on, and tried to meet those fears by promising jobs and donations to local charities, which the company often delivered in some fashion.

It’s 2015. The company is still here. Who is this man, that took a $25,000 loan and created a company that’s bigger than Sears? His name is Sam Walton. His company, Wal-Mart. As of 2014 the company earned $482 Billion dollars…..

The last story is of a woman, an African American woman. Faith without works.

She was born on December 23, 1867 in Delta, Louisiana. She was one of six children; she had a sister, and four brothers. Her parents and elder siblings were slaves on Madison Parish plantation, owned by Robert W. Burney. She was the first child in her family born into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Her mother died, possibly from cholera, in 1872. Her father remarried and died shortly afterward. So, orphaned at the age of seven, she moved in with her older sister Louvenia and brother in-law Willie Powell. At the age of 14, she married Moses McWilliams to escape Powell’s mistreatment, and three years later her daughter, Lelia, was born. When she was 20, her husband died, and Lelia was just 2 years old. Shortly afterward she moved to St. Louis, where three of her brothers lived. They were all barbers at a local barbershop. She managed to get a job as a washer woman. She barely earned more than a dollar a day but was determined to make enough money so that her daughter would be able to receive a formal education.

As a young woman she experienced a scalp disorder and lost a lot of hair primarily because of harsh products like lye that were included in soaps used to cleanse the hair. Because most Americans lacked indoor plumbing, central heating and electricity, they bathed and washed their hair infrequently. Initially she learned about hair care from her brothers, who owned a barber shop in St. Louis.

Around the time of the 1904 World’s Fair, she became a commission agent selling products for Annie Turnbo Malone, an African American hair care entrepreneur. While working with Annie Malone, she adapted her knowledge of hair and hair products. She moved to Denver to work on her hair care products, and married Charles Joseph Walker, a newspaper advertising salesman. This is when she took on the name that would be the name of her eventual company, and she became an independent hairdresser and retailer of cosmetic creams. After their marriage Charles Walker provided advice on advertising and promotion, while she trained women to become “beauty culturists” and to learn the art of selling. In 1906, she put her daughter A’Lelia in charge of the mail order operation while she and her husband traveled throughout the southern and eastern United States to expand the business.

While her daughter A’Lelia ran the mail order business from Denver, sheand her husband traveled throughout the southern and eastern states. They settled in Pittsburgh in 1908 and opened Lelia College to train “hair culturists.” In 1910 she then moved to Indianapolis where she established her headquarters and built a factory, hair salon, and beauty school to train her sales agents. She later added a laboratory to help with research. She was becoming very successful. Her business market expanded beyond the United States to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Panama, and Costa Rica.

Inspired by the model of the National Association of Colored Women, she began to organize her sales agents into local and state clubs. In 1917 she convened her first annual conference of the (her name) Beauty Culturists in Philadelphia. During the convention she gave prizes not only to the women who had sold the most products and brought in the most new sales agents, but also to those who had contributed the most to charity in their communities. She stressed the importance of philanthropy and political engagement. This had a huge impact on expanding her business. She also started her own mail order business to keep up with the booming business, placing her daughter A’Lelia Walker in charge of it.

She began to teach and train other black women in women’s independence, budgeting, and grooming in order to help them build their own businesses. She also gave lectures on political, economic and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions. In 1917 she started the Walker Hair Culturists Union of America convention, which ended up being the first national meeting of American women brought together to discuss business and commerce. She became involved in political matters, joining the executive committee of the Silent Protest Parade. It was a public demonstration of more than 8,000 African Americans to protest a riot that killed 39 African Americans.

In 1917, she commissioned Vertner Tandy, the first licensed black architect in New York State and a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, to design a house for her in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, Villa Lewaro. The house cost $250,000 to build. She moved into Villa Lewaro in May 1918 and hosted an opening event to honor Emmett Scott, then the Assistant Secretary for Negro Affairs of the United States War Department.

Just before her death she pledged $5,000, the equivalent of about $65,000 in 2012, to the NAACP’s anti-lynching fund. She died at Villa Lewaro on Sunday, May 25, 1919, from complications of hypertension. She was 51. In her will she directed two-thirds of future net profits of her estate to charity; she bequeathed nearly $100,000 to orphanages, institutions, and individuals. At her death she was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America. According to her New York Times obituary, “she said herself two years ago [in 1917] that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time.” Her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, became the president of the company.

Her companies products included a shampoo, a pomade stated to help hair grow, strenuous brushing and applying iron combs to hair. This method claimed to transform lusterless and brittle hair into soft luxurious hair. The manufacturing company employed women who, dressed in a characteristic uniform of white shirts and black skirts, and carrying black satchels, made house calls widely around the United States and in the Caribbean. The pomade and other products were packaged in tin containers carrying a picture of Madame Walker, which, accompanied by heavy advertising, made her well known in the US and more widely in the 1920’s. Similar products came to be produced in Europe and by other companies in the United States, including those set up by Mrs. Annie M. Turnbo Malone (“Poro System”) and Madame Sarah Spencer Washington (“Apex System”.)

So who was this great woman? Who was this woman that from slavery, took opportunities that presented themselves and made the most of them, no excuses? Who was this that was willing to “work” to make her “faith” work in her favor?

Her name was Sarah Breedlove. Otherwise known as Madam C.J. Walker. Her company was Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. At a certain point, her company was earning more than $3 million dollars a year and she is recognized as the first self made woman millionaire in American history.

So what is the point? Is there a point? Who cares? The people who don’t care do not dream, don’t have goals, don’t have any motivation to do anything more than what they are doing, even if they are not happy. Even if they hate where they work, the money they make, they city they live in, etc. It doesn’t matter, they have decided the only they can do is live life day by day and hoping something “happens” to change their circumstances. Faith without works.

Other people will read these stories and even though they are familiar with them, will take them for what they are, motivation and inspiration. And also a reminder, that it is never too late to pursue a dream. That idea that you sketched as a teen. That business that you tried and it failed. The invention that you created, but never showed anybody. It’s not too late to “try again”.

To have faith, but not believe enough to actually put forth “work” to make something you “say” you want to happen is a waste of time. And time is something we only have so much of.

The people I talked about either created something from scratch, or took an idea that was already in existence and did “more” with it. Can you do that? Do you want to try? If yes, call me at 305-204-1826 and lets schedule a free consultation to come up with options on what you can do today. You can also email me at

You can watch the video of this article at

Biographies courtesy of Wikipedia.

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