April 20, 2019

The Day I Decided to Work on Sabbath

In mid-August of 1987, I had just moved from Keene, Texas, United States, to Los Angeles, California. I desperately needed employment, with a wife and two little ones back in Keene anxiously awaiting the word to join me in Los Angeles.

As I perused the help-wanted section of the local paper there in southern California, suddenly my eyes fell upon the words: “Bilingual public relations person wanted for Nissan dealer; no experience necessary, will train.” I quickly jotted down the address and made my way over to the dealership. It was a Friday morning.

Upon arriving, I sought out and encountered the manager and inquired about the position. He tested my English and Spanish, asked a few other questions, then said: “You are a perfect fit for the job!”

The manager brought me some paperwork. I filled it out as quickly as humanly possible and returned it to him. He looked it over, then pushed back from his desk and declared the words I so desired to hear, “I’m ready to offer you the position.”

I couldn’t believe it! And then he added, “The job starts at US$3,000 a month.” Now back then, that sounded pretty good for a 27-year-old. “Fantastic!” I replied. “When do I start?”

“Tomorrow!” was his speedy reply.

My heart sank. That tomorrow was Sabbath! I agreed, shook hands, and walked out of his office and shuffled out to my car. My heart was heavy. I so needed the work, but how could I betray the Lord of my childhood?

The next morning, dressed in shirt and tie, I hopped in the car, fully intending to begin work at the dealership. As I drove, the Holy Spirit began to wrestle with my errant spirit. My argument was that I would only work there for a short time until something more suitable came my way.

As I drove into the dealership, the Spirit of God made His last plea. I felt unable to park my car. I simply made a U-turn and left. I drove to the nearest Seventh-day Adventist church and sat down, wondering, “Lord, I’m trusting You to come through and bless me!”

As I walked out of the church after the service, one of the associate superintendents of education for the Southern California Conference approached me. He introduced himself.

“You know my brother,” he said. “You played guitar with him in college.”

I told him of my situation and my need for employment. He said, "I believe the Lord has brought us together! I need a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at the Long Beach Seventh-day Adventist School. Would you be interested, and could you start on Monday?"

I speedily and gratefully accepted, and the next two years teaching those precious kids were what I refer to as the most important developmental years of my 30 years of ministry. God not only gave strength to pass the trial, but He rewarded me, allowing me to serve Him and invest in the lives of those kids.

In Psalm 27:1 we find these words: “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom [or of what] shall I be afraid?” Praise God for His abiding and enabling power to overcome!

This commentary was posted on the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists news site.