A Second Thought This Christmas

Have you ever noticed that of all the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” is the only commandment that begins with the word ‘remember.’ It is almost like God knew we would forget. And, at this time of the year we do forget. Life gets crazier and busier and things like joining others to worship and/or taking a sabbath time – simply disappear altogether. Of course, for some, life is busy all year round and a sabbath simply is never taken. And, by the way, it shows.

Genesis opens with the Lord speaking the universe into existence. After each day, the Lord said, “Good.” When you and I were formed, the Lord said, “Very Good.” Yet when the Sabbath was created, the Lord whispered, “Holy.”

We live in the most fast-paced period of history. We cure diseases that have plagued every generation before us. The phone in my pocket has a theological library, a camera, and a few hundred songs on board. These are incredible times, and yet I would not be able to make sense of them without a weekly sabbath.

When David Green built his first craft store in 1972, his initial plan was to close his stores on Sundays so that his employees and their families, as well as his customers, could take the day off. But he got scared. A competitor vowed to drive him out of business, and one of his tactics was to operate seven days a week. So David opened on Sundays to match the competition.

As years went by, his business thrived and expanded. He gave money to charity and to the church, but his conscience bothered him. With one hand he was supporting the church, and with the other he was working against it – literally. For many of his employees, Sunday was the only time they could go to church or spend time with their children. We’ve all heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” This seems like sound business advice, and everything about David’s approach to retailing honoured this axiom. But something else worked on his conscience. A voice said, “I come before your customers.”

Two decades after he began his business, David looked at the numbers. Hour for hour, Sunday had become his most profitable day of the week. He was selling a hundred million dollars in merchandise per year just on Sundays.

David prayed, and then he took the plunge. He decided to permanently close his stores on Sundays. “And that was when our business really took off,” he said of his Hobby Lobby chain.

As the New Year approaches – it might be good to consider living life God’s way and “remember the sabbath.”

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