2010 was a most difficult year for me, however, it was also that year I learned some valuable lessons that has helped to shape my life for the better. During the last decade employment opportunities have been down in just about every sector and families have been destroyed and lives have been taken because of unemployment and I was no different. I was a full time student working minimum wage because I was a foreign student I could not work more than thirty hours per week. A fulltime student meant that I had to be able to afford rent, groceries, support my family in Haiti and still be able to pay off my tuition of $15,000. Times were hard and pretty soon I was left without any excuses for the finance department and had to find a job off campus and that is when I began to learn about what it meant to be a Christian in the workplace.
I spent hours sending out application forms and résumés to every place that was offering employment. I was told that I either over qualified or did not meet the qualifications while others did not bother to reply at all. I spent days after days sending out applications and still nothing and finally I got a break and was asked to come in for an interview at a large furniture store as a salesperson. I was not concerned about what the pay was and was not concerned about how many hours I would have to work, I simply wanted to be employed. On all of my applications I made certain that I clearly stated that I would not be able to work on Sabbath and indicated what Sabbath hours were and how I would be willing to make it up. I arrived at the interview and was very confident and of course I prayed over and over again. The interview went well and the gentlemen said that he was very impressed and asked when I would be available to start and I told him right away. He went to get the necessary forms that needed in be filled out and handed them to me to sign. As I was getting reading to sign them he said casually, that, as this was a sale position that I would be required to work at least one Saturday out of the month and that he would make sure that I was paid double for that day. My heart sank.
I explained to him that I would not be able to do that and he then said that he would allow me to go to church in the mornings and work only in the afternoons after I came from church. I sat in my chair with tears rolling down my cheeks as I tried to explain to him that it had to be after sunset and that there was no way that I was going to be break my vow to God. He said he understood and that God would understand as well, and that he understood how hard life was for a student and even harder for an international student which was why he was trying his best to work with me. As I shook my head no, he told me that there was others just like me who came in before and they were willing to work one Saturday so what made me different. I remember asking him to goggle Exodus chapter 20 and to read verses 8- 11 and that I would not be able to take the job. He shook my hand as I sobbed in his office and said that if I ever changed my mind that he would be willing to hire me. I was disappointed and devastated and cried for the entire twenty minutes back to home while I battled with myself if I had made the right decision.
I went back to sending out applications and continued to clearly state that I would not be able to work during Sabbath hours and though those days were difficult, not once did I go hungry or did not have a place to sleep. I often went to bed reciting scriptures of promises believing that God will see me through and He did and I learned then that it was better to obey than to sacrifice but that was just the beginning of a long journey.
“What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22