“Mum, I’ve found a business that I want. What would you think if I bought a pet shop?”
I was surprised that Lyza wanted to go into that business, but I knew she’d make a success of it. She’d always loved animals and now she’d have a chance to look after them and make others happy as they bought her pets. But at the same time I was cautious.
“Are you sure this is a good business to buy into, dear? Have you done all the checks?”
“Sure have, Mum, and it looks like it has been a really flourishing business down at the shopping centre for quite some time. I won’t be a millionaire, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. The sales figures have been healthy. I just thought I’d let you know that I’ll be closing the shop on Saturday as well.”
My heart leaped with joy to know that Lyza would be keeping the Sabbath each week. I’d always believed that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, was the day God set apart for worship and I’d taught Lyza the same thing. But I also knew that Lyza had not been to church for a long time. I was delighted to now hear that she wanted to keep this day free for church and worship.
“God will bless you, Lyza,” I told my daughter. “He always blesses those who are faithful to Him and His commandments.”
“Thanks Mum. I knew you’d be happy,” Lyza replied.
The weeks ticked by as the settle-ment went through and the day came when Lyza was finally able to take possession of her shop. She cleaned things, put up new notices, ordered in fresh stock and opened the doors for business. The first week passed and the sales were low, but we both comforted ourselves with the thought that this was a new venture.
“Business will pick up next week,” Lyza said. “After all, I’ve only just taken over and I’m still getting used to what needs to be done. I’m sure it’ll be better next week.”
Friday came. She locked the door late afternoon and rested over the weekend. We both felt positive and happy.
“Where were you over the weekend?” Madge asked as she unlocked the shutters on her neighbouring shop on Monday morning. “I saw you were closed. Were you sick?”
“No,” Lyza replied. “I went to church on Saturday and I won’t be opening the shop that day, because I know God wants me to keep the Sabbath holy.”
Madge looked at her in horror and then shook her head. “Lyza, Saturday is one of our busiest days! I hate to tell you this, but you aren’t going to survive very long if you insist on shutting the shop on Saturdays. Nev, who owned the shop before you, used to tell me that Saturday was his busiest day. That’s when all the kids and mums came in to buy their pet supplies or choose a new pet. They can’t always come during the week because they’re at work or school, and on Sunday they’re off playing sports. But Saturday is their free day and that’s the day they come shopping. You’ll see. You 7 have to open on Saturday or go bust.”
And with that dire warning, she swept into her shop and began the day.
Lyza walked slowly into her pet shop. She busied herself with her animals, but her thoughts were whirling. She hadn’t done well the two weeks before. She sure hoped she’d do better this week. Surely people would get used to the fact that her shop would not open on Saturdays. She’d written “Closed on Saturdays” in big letters on a sign and hung it in her window. She had felt certain that people would come on other days!
That week dragged by and again sales were not good. Now Lyza started to get really worried. She should have made a lot more money by this time, if the former owner’s sales figures were to be believed. She had bills to pay and deadlines to keep if she was going to stay on good terms with her suppliers.
Lyza put the worrying thoughts out of her head as she once again locked the door to her pet shop on Friday night. But it was hard to stop worrying and with the worry came doubt. Why wasn’t God helping her more when she was trying to do the right thing? Would it really matter if she opened the shop on Sabbath?
Another week passed with low sales and I could see that Lyza was almost beside herself with worry. “Mum, things are looking serious! Can you please pray for me? I have to do better this week or I’m going to have to close down.” She started crying at the thought.
I was worried too, but I tried to comfort her.
“I know God will be with you,” I told her. “You’re doing the right thing, and God will honour you.”
Lyza seemed to feel better and she told me that she felt more confident now that she knew I was praying for her. But sales on Monday were low and again on Tuesday.
“Are you praying, Mum?” Lyza almost shrieked into the phone. “It isn’t working. Why is God doing this to me? He just doesn’t seem to be listening!”
“God is listening, dear,” I assured her. “I’m sure there’s something He wants you to learn through this. Please just trust Him. It’ll be all right, I know it will.”
But Lyza wasn’t convinced and her worry deepened by the time she locked her shop on Wednesday. There’d been hardly any sales.
“It’s not good, Mum,” she whispered tearfully into the phone that night. “I’m going to have to either open the shop on Saturday or shut it down. God just isn’t listening and I don’t know what else to do.”
“No, no!” I exclaimed. “God always listens.” Suddenly, I had an idea. “I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ve been asking God to prosper you and I know He wants to do that, so from now on I am going to thank God for what He’s going to do for you.”
Lyza gasped. “That’s crazy, Mum! How can you thank Him for something He hasn’t done?”
“Because He’s going to do it. God always hears and I know He’s going to help you, so I’m going to thank Him for doing it.” I felt really sure that God would honour Lyza’s decision to keep the Sabbath.
On Thursday, I thanked God all day for what He was going to do for my Lyza and on Friday I continued praising Him. I just knew that He was going to make everything all right and I was a little puzzled that I hadn’t heard from Lyza.
Then on Friday night, I got an excited call. “Mum, I’ve had the best day ever. I just can’t stop thanking God. I really can’t. I’ve been singing His praises all day long. You aren’t going to believe it, but I’ve made so many sales that I can now pay all my bills! And I can assure Madge that faithfulness to God really is rewarded!”
“Thank You, God,” I whispered as I put the phone down. “I’m so very grateful to You for answering our prayers and for the sales that Lyza has made.” My eyes filled with tears of gratefulness to our wonderful God.
The Sabbath – God’s special day
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . . . For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8, 11).
The word sabbath means “rest,” and God has said it’s a day of rest from our normal labours (Leviticus 23:32; Mark 1:32; Exodus 20:8–11). God Himself rested on the Sabbath after completing His work of creation (Genesis 2:2, 3).
But the Sabbath is also designed to benefit us. It serves as a weekly reminder that we need to take time to be with God, family and friends, to remember where we came from and what Jesus has done for us. It’s holy, set-apart time—time to reflect, time for the Word, time for prayer, time for fellowship, time for worship and time for serving others.