The Closed Shop

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Gospel meetings were being held in a small town and handbills announcing them were printed and scattered among those who lived near. On Sunday morning two Christian men were out early delivering them from door to door.
As they went along one street, they came to a barber's shop. It was open, for on that morning very often the best trade was done. They went in and handed the barber one of the announcements. Looking at it, he quickly said, "No use to me; here, take it back. I am not coming."
One of the men said: "But why not? The meeting is not till evening. You will be closed then. Why not come? Seats are free, and there's a welcome for you."
Immediately he said, "Oh, that's true. I do close my shop before then. But just the same I am not coming. I know what you would say if I did."
"What would we tell you?"
"Oh, you would tell me to close my shop on Sunday."
"Nothing of the kind! You come tonight, and you'll not hear a word about closing your shop. But you WILL hear the gospel."
Assured over and over that nothing would be said about his closing up, he said: "Well, I'll not promise, but I may come along."
As the Christians went on they passed out the handbills with a prayer to God that He would incline the barber to be there.
That night as the meeting began, they looked around and soon discovered the barber sitting among some others. As they had told him, there was no word as to "shutting up shop" nor anything else put before the sinner as needful to be done. All stress was laid upon the fact that man is a sinner before God, guilty and vile; no efforts on his part could suffice to cleanse that guilt away. The barber had thought of at least one thing needful, "closing his shop." Now he was being shown his own heart as God saw it, and he learned that the heart is "desperately wicked." Sin is there, and all the doing of a sinful man is sin. If he had, as a sinner, shut his shop, would it have helped him as to his salvation? Impossible! The preacher said, "Ye must be born again." As payment for sin, Christ must be lifted up—Christ must die, or sin never could be judged in righteousness for man's salvation. Without belief in the power of that death for himself, there never could be forgiveness of his sins.
That night the barber lost sight of all he might do, and became absorbed in the thought: "I'm a sinner. I AM! Never mind about others."
Before the week ended he was in deep distress. Hopeless and helpless as to doing anything to work out his own salvation, at last he turned to the One who has already done it all. He accepted as for himself alone the triumphant cry on Calvary's cross: "It is finished."
The following Lord's Day morning, those two Christians were around with their handbills again. As they came near the barber's shop they wondered: What would he do? Sunday was his best morning for customers.
The answer was before them. The shop door was shut. Several customers had come as usual. They were startled to see, not the well-known barber pole, the usual sign, but a new one, a most singular one. There on the closed shutters was nailed a large text: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
Friend, will you too accept the finished work of Christ? Simply believe. Receive Him as your all-sufficient Savior, and know the joy of a full and present salvation.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8, 98For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8‑9).