An excerpt from “The Cost of My Faith: How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court”
By: Jack Phillips
“Masterpiece Cakeshop, this is Jack. Can I help you?” “Yeah—you the guy that just refused to serve two gay men?” That was quick.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” I replied. I was scrambling, trying to discern where this was going. “I’d never refuse to serve anyone. Or to sell anything in my shop to anyone who—”
“But you did refuse to sell them a wedding cake, didn’t you?”
I paused, then started over, measuring my words carefully as the ingredients for one of my cakes.
“I sell anything in my shop to anyone. It’s just that I can’t create or design custom cakes that celebrate events—”
The caller interrupted with a slew of profanity. Then the phone went dead. I was stunned. Again.
I’d probably have been a lot more stunned, had I known that, almost a decade later, I’d still be saying these same words, in pretty much the same way, almost every day…trying to help people understand my decision.
Moments later, the phone rang again and even though Lisa was free to answer it, I let her know I would take this call as well.
“Masterpiece Cakeshop, this is Jack. Can I help you?”
Profanity spewed from the phone. When the caller hung up, I let the women working with me know that I’d be answering the phone for the rest of the day. I took a few more angry, obscene calls before I close up shop at 6 p.m. Even then, the phone kept ringing—I just stopped answering it, which was more than unusual for me. For almost twenty years, I had made it a point to try to answer every phone call, or open the door to anyone, no matter what time it was.
On the way home, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. Looking back, I was probably driving, parking, and walking on autopilot, my mind preoccupied with the events of the last few minutes.
I walked through the double doors of the grocery store and froze. Everyone, suddenly, seemed to be staring at me. I felt the whole world closing in.
They hate me, I thought, imagining the dark thoughts behind all those flaring faces. They all hate me. Fear breathed a chill along the back of my neck. I wasn’t sure what to do.
And then, just suddenly, the words came to me…words the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
The “sound mind” part was the Lord’s way of reassuring me, telling me that He was in control. I suddenly realized that I had no reason to fear. I looked around—no one was giving me a second glance, much less a cold stare. I was just another customer, shopping for a few things for dinner. God was bigger than a few phone calls, than a lot of curse words, than two disappointed would-be customers.
I would continue to trust the only One worth of my trust.
This is an excerpt adapted from The Cost of My Faith: How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court by Jack Phillips. When Jack Phillips opened his Masterpiece Cakeshop in 1993, he gave it a name that reflected his intentional blending of culinary skill and artistic talent all for the glory of God. He and his wife, Debi, have three grown children and make their home in Colorado. To learn more about Jack’s story, click here.
Photo from Rick Wilking/REUTERS