By Phil Robertson, in Happy, Happy, Happy, pages 121-3…135-6, Copyright, 2013.
(For more on Phil Robertson see Blog #113)
People ask me all the time about the early days of Duck Commander (company), when it was just Pa, Kay, the boys, and me trying to learn how to operate a heavy lathe and build duck calls in a small woodshop outside our home. I’m sure that at various times Kay and everyone else assumed I was crazy and they were probably right.
Like my childhood, our company started from humble beginnings… After we launched Duck Commander, our first year of sales totaled only eight thousand dollars. I told Kay, “I know I have a master’s degree, but I’m gonna stay the course on this one. I think this will work. If the Almighty is with us, it will work.” It was just like when I persuaded her to move out next to the river, so I could give up my teaching job to become a commercial fisherman…
Of course, everybody laughed at us in the early days. People would come by our house and say, “Let me get this right: you have a master’s degree from Louisiana Tech University; you could’ve played professional football, but you turned that down so you could do what?”
I always told them that I was fishing the river and following my dream. I got seventy cents a pound on the catfish and thirty cents a pound on the buffalo fish, which wasn’t a bad living. I was determined to see it through until the duck call business was big enough to support us, and then I would hang my fishing nets up for good. A lot of my friends tell me they thought I was a complete idiot.
Now I ask them, “Well, it’s forty years since you thought I was an idiot; what about now?” Now they’re calling me a genius! Boy, it took forty years for them to turn, but now they finally say, “That old guy ain’t as dumb as he looks…” I might not be the most intelligent guy on Earth, but I always had the wherewithal, determination, and work ethic to turn my business into a success, or at least to make it profitable enough to feed and care for my family, which is really all I ever wanted.
Our company has come long way. But it hasn’t been easy. Somehow, we stayed the course and it turned out. There is a God, and He blessed us because we did what was right– we loved Him, we loved our neighbor, and we hunted ducks. He is real and what He said He would do is what happened. He said, you love Me and do what’s right, and I’ll bless you… I only know that either our success came from Him or I was one of the luckiest souls that ever came along with a little idea. All I can say is it’s one or the other, but I’m leaning toward the Almighty doing exactly what He said He would do.
The Almighty blessed us, and Duck Commander did work, just like He said it would. Yes, it took a long, long time for us to get to where we are today. But even before our success, and long before Duck Dynasty came along, everybody was happy, happy, happy. In other words, it wasn’t like my love for the Almighty was contingent upon whether the blessings came or not. My prayer was always: “Lord, if You bless me, I’ll thank You; but if You don’t, I’ll be thankful for what I have. I have plenty and I’m in good shape.” Even before our success came along, we had air-conditioning, color TV, hot water, and a bathtub. We had everything we needed. When I was a boy, we didn’t even have bathtubs or commodes, but I was still as happy and content as I am today. As long as I was doing what God said was right and living my life for Him, I knew everything would work out in the end– one way or another.
I don’t always like it when I hear people tell about how they were successful because they believed in God and lived right and therefore they just knew God would bless their business. At first it sounded like that is how this story was going to go. But the last paragraph was different. While Robertson acknowledges that God has indeed blessed him, he says that his love for God was not contingent upon the success of his company. He said he would have been just as contented and thankful even if it had not worked out, because God had already blessed him in so many ways. I am glad he added that part, because there are many good Christian people who pray to God to help them in their new business, and it does not become a multi-million dollar international company, along with a television show.
In the book of Daniel, three young men express their faith that God can save them from a fiery death, but even if not, they say, they will not be unfaithful. They were determined to obey God and then leave it all in God’s hands, no matter how it turned out for them.
Daniel 3:13-18 — Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 — Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Romans 14:8 — If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, faithful God.