As it is, God arranged the members in the body, each of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. — I Corinthians 12:18-20
A few weeks ago, as I prepared to lead our weekly Thursday morning company devotional, the Lord impressed a familiar concept upon my heart. Not a new idea, by any means, but one that revolutionized the way I see the Body of Christ. When I applied the teachings of I Corinthians 11-13 to Duck Commander, I saw something exciting. God gave me a fresh look at these famous three chapters addressed to the Corinthian church.
For context sake, many of us are familiar with the individual chapters of the later half of I Corinthians. In chapter 11, Paul addresses the Lord’s Supper; in chapter 12, he teaches the Corinthian church about differing parts of the body of Christ; and in chapter 13, he emphasizes the importance of love. In these oft-read passages of the New Testament, we find Paul instructing believers to treat each other fairly, to love one another, and to work together for the common goal of evangelism.
But how does the idea of the Body of Christ apply to business?
Uniqueness & Giftedness
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone… All are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
I Corinthians 12:4-6, 11
In I Cor 12: 1-11, Paul talks about the unique giftedness of every believer. If you read the surrounding chapters, it is obvious that the Corinthian church was not treating each other in the right spirit and was creating divisiveness within the membership. They were denying the Spirit, giving into worldly things, and not communicating. Bottom line, they were forgetting about the value of each individual member. Each person has a unique gift, and that makes them valuable.
In our family, Dad had a unique ability to make duck calls. His talent for both blowing and creating a duck call was what started this whole journey. A duck call is basically a reed instrument; it requires precision and ability to make the right sounds. I am terrible with duck calls; it is not a talent that I possess. You either have it or you don’t… and I don’t! People from all over would bring their duck calls to Dad to fix, and he would make their broken calls sing. Dad’s natural ability with the call, combined with his storytelling magnetism, drew people to our family from far and wide.
In the business world, successful companies are made up of unique individuals properly placed in the positions that best fit their talents and abilities. Often times, gifted people are hired not for specific job opportunities, but to find out through training where they will fit within the organization. At Duck Commander, we have found that finding the role where each employee fits is more important than filling open positions. Each person has a uniqueness about them; it is important to connect the individuality of the person to the goals of the organization.
Duck Commander is made up of a whole mess of personalities and giftedness. We all have our individual gifts and talents that are plugged in to where they will best suit the company as a whole. For example, Willie is an amazing networker who is able to join other businesses together to market our company on a national level. Without his creative marketing and unfailing pursuit of his goal to make Duck Commander a national brand, we would never have had the success we have enjoyed. That is his unique gift; I do not possess that gift, rather, I have the gift of storytelling and connecting with people. Together with the other members of our family, we form a unit and embrace the unity of individual giftedness.
It is this combination of spiritual giftedness and professional uniqueness that has built Duck Commander.
Unity & Diversity
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
I Corinthians 12:12, 18-20
Anyone who has seen an episode of Duck Dynasty, knows that there is a large variety of personalities within the Roberston clan. We all have different opinions and views on how things should work; we all have different abilities and gifts that bring different development and organizational options to the table. Because of this, we work hard to promote unity and diversity within both the family unit and the company.
Unity is a huge part of both spiritual and professional growth. When the spirit of unity is truly embraced within an organization, all things coalesce together into an unsurpassable clarity and vision that produces a productive work environment and, in turn, a successful company. I Corinthians 12:12-31 describes how a group of uniquely gifted people come together to form a diverse group of individuals working together towards a common goal.
Interestingly enough, when I was researching I Corinthians 11-13 for our company devotional, the word university kept coming to mind. Based on the concepts of community and diversity, universities host individual colleges of business, liberal arts, and science, but together they make up a single university. The Latin words universitas and universitatis are commonly thought of as the source of the word university. This is interesting to me because these two words are often derived from universus, meaning universe, or universal. The root words of universus are a combination of uni (one) and versus (turned). Literally, the word university can mean turned into one.
An organization is like a university; a diverse group of people working together for a common goal. The uniqueness of backgrounds, abilities, opinions, and perspectives of individuals within a company are the tools that foster success when properly embraced through a spirit of unity through diversity. On the contrary, jealousy, envy, and self-service are the downfalls of many organizations.
On the spiritual side, the Holy Spirit empowers individuals with unique gifts, but when combined in a spirit of unity, greater things can be accomplished for the good of the Body of Christ. As illustrated in I Corinthians 12:12-31, diversity is necessary within the Christian community. Where would the mouth be without the hand that feeds it? Or the brain without the feet that move it? God entrusts His gifts to us so that we can work together with like-minded individuals working towards the same goal.
In Duck Commander, we all have different abilities, but we are unified in the goal to supply the best duck calls on the market. We don’t all have to blow the best duck call, nor do we all have to speak to crowds about the logistics of the reeds, but we all have our place and our gifts are diverse.
Love & Passion
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13
At the end of our three-chapter study, we find the final thought, the final note in the symphony: love. I find it quite interesting that love brings it all together. There is a finality to I Corinthians 13:13. The ultimate problem of the Corinthian church was that they weren’t loving each other. We have to have passion for whatever we do.
Most successful companies are built upon the foundation of passion for an industry or a product. If we are not passionate about our work, we are just getting a check. In reality, people who are not passionate about what they do simply log hours to get a paycheck; successful entrepreneurs work tirelessly to forge ahead and create the products they love. Nothing big is built without passion.
Dad’s passion for the outdoors created this dynasty; we caught the vision at young ages, not only for hunting, but also for using our unique gifts and abilities to grow our brand. When we have a love for what we do and a passion for sharing the tricks of the trade with our constituency, we produce quality products, make an impact, and accomplish our goal to be the best in the industry.
For businessmen and women, passion is the driving force behind success; for the Christian, love is what helps us make a difference in our world. In the business world, we have to love the people we work with, treat our employees with respect, and passionately pursue our goals. In our personal lives, we have to love our families, reach out with compassion to the lost, and boldly proclaim the love of Christ.
All of the Robertsons are very passionate, but we express it differently. Willie has a passion to make an impact on the world in a big way through media, marketing, and publishing; Dad is passionate about creating the best duck call on the market; Mom shows her passion for our family and preserving our unity of diversity through love and care for our spiritual and personal well-being; Jep is passionate about technology and connects with the younger generation through technological advancements; I am passionate about ministry and keeping our family unit strong even in the public eye; Jase is the heir-apparent when it comes to hunting and has a meticulous passion for the outdoors; Si loves to sit all day making reeds and telling stories. Together we form a unified body in love with serving the hunting community to the best of our abilities.
Paul challenges us as believers to love each other. It is a powerful way to bring it all together. In the end, we have to have a passion for people, for what we do, and for what we are trying to accomplish to make the world better by the things that we do and the things that we produce. We want to make an impact. At the end of the day, faith, hope, and love are important. Faith to trust in God and to trust in people; hope that goes beyond practical belief; and a love that drives us to passionately pursue our goals.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into… Christ, from whom the whole body… is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
By: Alan Robertson
Alan Robertson is the oldest son of Phil and Kay Robertson. He helped build the foundation of the family business, Duck Commander. Recently, Alan has returned to the family business after serving in full-time ministry for more than 25 years. Alan plays a vital role in the family’s commitment to spreading the gospel of Christ through their love of hunting and the great outdoors. Alan and his wife, Lisa, are parents of two grown daughters and proud grandparents to two granddaughters and a grandson on the way.