Scripture: Exodus 23:10 For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild animals may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.
Observation: Here is the principal of Sabbatical – an extended rest during the 7th year – which is an extension of the Sabbath. I expect God’s people may have been tempted, at times, to plant a crop on a seventh year rather than let it lie fallow. An extra year’s revenue would have been nice. But that’s not how life in God’s Kingdom works. We rest on the seventh day, and we have an extended rest in the seventh year. And we trust that the Lord will bless our our obedience with more provision than we need.
Application: One of my favorite fast-food restaurants is Chik-fil-a. I don’t go there often, but whenever I do I’m shocked by how crowded it usually is. I mean, there are regularly drive-through lines that encircle the entire store! It’s crazy! One would think people who see the long lines would go somewhere else, but that’s not what happens. As a result, they are the most profitable fast-food chain in the US. And it’s not close. This despite the fact that, unlike other major food chains, they are closed on Sunday. Here’s a quote from Business Insider Magazine:
“Chick-fil-A is dominating fast food. The fried chicken chain generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast food chain in the US, according to a new QSR report. Chick-fil-A has only 1,887 restaurants primarily located in the Southeast, and none of its restaurants are open on Sundays. For comparison, McDonald’s has more than 14,000 locations in the US, Taco Bell has 5,921, and KFC has 4,370 — most of which are open seven days a week. Yet Chick-fil-A generates more annual revenue than dozens of other chains that have more than twice as many locations, such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Arby’s.”
From a dollars-and-cents business perspective, it may seem foolish to keep stores closed on Sundays. If they make that much money now, why not increase sales by 1/7 by simply opening every day? But the owners of the chain understand how the Kingdom of God works. They know that abandoning God’s Kingdom principal of Sabbath would hurt them, not help them. With so much money at stake in a dollars-and-cents world, I have great respect for the Chik-fil-a organization. They are, in my opinion, a great example of trust in the Lord.
Prayer: Gracious God, your ways are not our ways. Choosing to live by your Kingdom principals often puts us in conflict with a dollars-and-cents world. Give us grace to resist the temptation to abandon your ways in pursuit of “more”. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.