The company my wife, Kathie, and I founded, SHOPWARE, Inc., produced training software for vocational education. Fortunately, almost all trade shows had little or no Sabbath scheduling conflicts. The main exception was the largest international show in our industry. Not only did this two-and-half-day show include Saturday, but Saturday was opening day.
We decided to participate and sent in the application with a short note stating that we would not exhibit on Saturday. Soon we received word that policy required all exhibitors to have their booths staffed at all times, and this rule had never been broken. In all the years of administering the show the officials had never had a request of this kind, even though, we learned, a Jewish company from Israel was represented, as well as many Christian businesses who might have been expected to want Sunday off.
After some discussion the show administration agreed to allow us not to staff our booth on Saturday. In exchange we had to give up our prime booth location and accept a less visible place, with low traffic flow.
We agreed to all this, even though it appeared we would be losing in the process. We set up the booth on Friday and placed two signs in front for Saturday visitors. One read: “Free demonstrations tomorrow.” The other read: “ ‘The Lord . . . rested the seventh day’ (see Exodus 20:8-11), . . . and we’ve done the same.”
That Sabbath we enjoyed a peaceful day with the local Adventist congregation. Of course we were eager to see what would be the result of our not attending the big show on opening day.
That Sunday morning I will never forget. Many show participants came by our booth and said, “We missed you on Saturday and made sure to come back to see you today.” This was remarkable, since this show was so large that many people never even got to see all of the exhibits! One of the exhibitors, who was also one of our dealers, came by our booth to tell us how impressed he was that we were willing to go to such expense to stand up for our beliefs and what a good influence our commitment had on the people. He said that the general Saturday traffic was very low and that we didn’t miss anything!
It was exciting to see God work! Our ability to witness at that show resulted in other dealers being influenced. One dealer became a vegetarian, and his wife read numerous Adventist books with great interest. God made sure at those shows that we succeeded in business equal to, or better than, a booth opened on Sabbath. But more important, we have seen that the best rewards are not measured with a calculator. They are measured in the joy we have in our hearts for living as God would want us to.
“The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
By Donn Leiske
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