Sabbath Keepers

As important as the stories told about us are the early things we remember and the stories that we tell about our families.  The Macys were Sabbath Keepers. So were most of their neighbors.  Since no stores were open it was not hard to not buy on the Sabbath.  There really no public entertainments to be had, so refraining from them was not hard. The only thing to refrain from was work, so farm chores were kept to the essential care of the livestock. Children played quietly, if at all. And church was attended; Sunday School, worship and Evening Worship, which was another preaching service much like the morning one.  At home, Bibles were read and hymns played on the piano. Food was mostly cooked the day before and enjoyed at family tables. People stayed in their best clothes all day, and often paid visits to family and neighbors. The Macy children had one tale they told about Sabbath Keeping. It told you everything you needed to know about their father. It went like this.

Out at the end of the lane, Harlan kept a chalkboard. On it he posted any extra produce or supplies that he had for sale.  His prices were fair and his produce and stock were always quality. Folks noticed what he put on his board.  One Sunday a man stopped by the farm during the afternoon rest period and asked for Harlan.  The board said that there were lambs for sale. Harlan took the man out to the barn and let him inspect the lambs. The man offered him his asking price for the lot of them. Harlan said that he would be happy to promise them to him, but that being as it was Sunday, he could not take any money or let the man take the lambs. He would have to come back on Monday. The man was put out, and thought it an attempt to get a better price. He hemmed and hawed and raised his offer just a bit. Harlan stood firm. He was not selling any lambs on the Lord’s Day, - it was unscriptural.  The man left angry and didn’t come back.

Now, being the depression, Harlan could have used that cash. It was a hard loss. The man was not a neighbor or a Friend, all of his neighbors and Friends had plenty of lambs and little cash just like he did. No one would have known if he made that sale, but his own children, and his own conscience, and his Lord. Harlan was an immovable object when it came to the Sabbath. A couple of children thought to themselves that perhaps dad should have taken the money.  Harlan did not give it another thought.

Come Monday, mid-day, another stranger rolled up the lane. Two strangers in two days was a noticeable event. This man was also interested in lambs. He thought the lambs in question were excellent quality and without prompting or negotiation offered a higher price than the best price of the previous day.  Harlan sold those lambs.  And at the supper table read to his children about Sabbath Keeping and God’s abundant provision for those who follow His precepts.  The children took the lesson in somewhere deep and were telling the story 70 years later.

photo Joe Snyder