Over the last few months, I’ve felt this tug to close the Val Marie Paper shop on Sundays (the day I practice Sabbath). At first, I thought it sounded very weird. It’s an online shop. I don’t open my email or touch work on this day so can’t it go on running as usual? I’ve never seen an online shop close on Sundays so fear of looking odd or judgy as stalled me for a little while, but when I read this verse, I felt like God was speaking right to me:
As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt. – Nehemiah 10:31
Here is what has been on my heart:
- I feel convicted preaching to others that we should slow down and even curb our spending while “bringing grain on the Sabbath day to sell.”
- I feel convicted that this is my loophole: I can physically not work, but still take in money.
- I feel convicted that I am not trusting God to use 313 days a year and demand the other 52 just in case.
These are all personal convictions. The Bible doesn’t say don’t keep an online shop open on the Sabbath. This is not a conviction for every business owner. Please don’t misunderstand that. For me, I see an area that I need to surrender and fully trust God with. I also see an opportunity to use each page view on Sunday as an opportunity to share this message of rest that our world so desperately needs.
And honestly, my motives aren’t completely unselfish. Michelle Van Loon says in her book Moments & Days “We drop the works our hands are clutching and surrender our empty hands to receive the abundant life he offers us.”
I’m no martyr. I know the life God has in store for me is better than anything I can plan for myself. This idea of abundant life has been playing in my head all year.
So to answer a few questions you may have:
How long are you doing this?
I really don’t know if this is going to be a permanent change or just for a season. I will have to manually click a button each week to close the shop and reopen it so if it becomes more of a distraction on my Sabbath than before, it might go. If God tells me the message has been made, move on, it might go. It won’t be determined by lower sales though. I’ll just be tuning in to God for His direction.
I practice the Sabbath on another day. Are you saying it has to be practiced on Sunday?
Not at all! The shop is closed on the day I practice Sabbath because I’m the shop owner. The message is not that you can’t shop on Sundays, but that I won’t actively encourage others to spend on the day I’m telling myself to dedicate to the Lord.
It looks like you can still access the shop with a password? So technically we CAN shop on Sundays?
Yes. I went back and forth on this one. I don’t want the shop being closed to be a hindrance or frustration to anyone to where they can’t hear the message about rest. I have totally been there and it’s hard not to blank out on the important stuff because something is standing in your way. Our pastor just told us a story of a pastor who wore flipflops to preach a message. He didn’t mean any offense, but to many cultures around the world, it was offensive and the video was never shown. The message was missed for something as seemingly small as flipflops. So for the shop, I’m not trying to force anyone to not shop and certainly won’t judge anyone who places an order on Sundays. I just hope to encourage anyone needing soul-deep refreshment to find out more about what Sabbath rest looks like!
I have shared thoughts on rest over the years on Instagram. Check out #vmpsabbath for more encouragement!