When Colonel Harland Sanders retired at the age of 65, he had little to show for himself, except an old Caddie roadster, a $105 monthly pension check, and a recipe for chicken.
Knowing he couldn’t live on his pension, he took his chicken recipe in hand, got behind the wheel of his van, and set out to make his fortune. His first plan was to sell his chicken recipe to restaurant owners, who would in turn give him a residual for every piece of chicken they sold–5 cents per chicken. The first restaurateur he called on turned him down.
So did the second.
So did the third.
In fact, the first 1008 sales calls Colonel Sanders made ended in rejection. Still, he continued to call on owners as he traveled across the USA, sleeping in his car to save money. Prospect number 1009 gave him his first “yes.”
After two years of making daily sales he had signed up a total of five restaurants. Still the Colonel pressed on, knowing that he had a great chicken recipe and that someday the idea would catch on.
Of course, you know how the story ends. The idea DID catch on. By 1963 the Colonel had 600 restaurants across the country selling his secret recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (with 11 herbs and spices).
In 1964 he was bought out by future Kentucky governor John Brown. Even though the sale made him a multi-millionaire, he continued to represent and promote KFC until his death in 1990.
Colonel Sanders’ story teaches an important lesson: its never too late to decide to never give up.
Earlier in his life the Colonel was involved in other business ventures–but they weren’t successful. He had a gas station in the 30’s, a restaurant in the 40’s, and he gave up on both of them. At the age of 65, however, Harland Sanders decided his chicken idea was the right idea, and he refused to give up, even in spite of repeated rejection.
He knew that if he kept on knocking on doors, eventually someone would say “yes.” This is how Jesus has commanded to approach life. He said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9) This verse follows a story Jesus told emphasizing the importance of a “never-give-up” attitude in prayer. Jesus is saying, “Ask–not just once, but as many times as is necessary. Keep on knocking till the door is opened.” If you have made half-hearted attempts at doing God’s will in your life…if you have given up too easily in the past…remember: It’s never too late to become persistent. It’s never too late to decide to never give up. Keep on knocking. Keep on asking. Keep on seeking.