By: Emily Conley
Joseph: just a simple carpenter.
Mary: as far as anyone knew then, just an ordinary girl, engaged to the carpenter.
The shepherds: just doing their job that night, caring for the flocks on a hillside outside of Bethlehem, just as they had for years.
With Christmas quickly approaching, one of the things that’s stood out to me in the Christmas story is just how ordinary they were – just (seemingly) ordinary people, going about their ordinary business. And yet, out of all the options available to accomplish His plans, God uses these ordinary people in extraordinary ways.
All of these ordinary people demonstrated extraordinary faith. I’ve read Blaine’s story countless times, but each time, his trust in God’s faithfulness stands out to me.
Blaine Adamson, the managing owner of Hands On Originals, made headlines for offering to refer an order for t-shirts promoting a gay pride parade to another local printer, on the basis that the message on the shirts violated his conscience. That decision, which led to the loss of business from major clients, wasn’t the first time Blaine had to trust God completely to provide for his family and employees.
Blaine worked at Hands On Originals for several years before he was asked to become managing owner in 2008. At that time, Hands On Originals was half a million dollars in debt, and the business was failing, fast. After trying everything he knew, Blaine gave everything over to God. “I said, ‘God I’ve tried everything . . . I just need help. I just need your help, or this [business] is done,’” Blaine recalls.
After that moment of full dependence on God, Blaine said that orders began coming in, and by 2011, Blaine wrote the check that paid off all of Hands On Originals’ debt, fully crediting God for blessing the business.
Business was booming. Then came 2012.
“We’ve had to turn down many jobs over the years,” Blaine said. “Because I’ll work with any person, no matter who they are, no matter what their belief systems are, but when they present a message that conflicts with my convictions, it’s not something that I can print. That’s the line for me.”
When Blaine offered to refer the order for t-shirts promoting the pride festival, the sponsoring organization filed a discrimination complaint, and calls for boycotts followed soon thereafter.
Blaine’s trust in God’s faithfulness was tested again. “When this first happened . . . businesses began to pull their business from us, right and left we were losing customers. There came a point where I was so broken . . . I began to cry out to the Lord, ‘God, I will stand, no matter what the cost will be.’”
Blaine wrestled with the reality that this could mean losing his business. But the hardest part for him was the idea that he might have to lay off employees, employees that Blaine described as family.
"'Ok God, it’s not just me; it’s all these people,’” Blaine’s voice broke the recalling the moment, "'How am I showing love to all these people, if they’re gonna lose their jobs?’ So . . . ” He trailed off, shaking his head. “That was the point where it just hit home for me.”
In 2014, the Human Rights Commission ruled against Blaine, claiming that he must promote messages that conflict with his faith. Alliance Defending Freedom appealed the ruling, and in April 2015, the court overturned the ruling and affirmed that Americans like Blaine should be free to live consistently with their beliefs.
Blaine says that one of the good things to come out of this situation is the effect that it has had on his family, especially for his children. “It’s made them dig in and actually ask the questions, ‘Do I really believe what this says? Do I really want to walk this out the rest of my life? Is this really a God I can trust in?’ . . . They realize there’s a great cost to serving the Lord.”
“And thankfully, we’ve had to lay off no one. . . . Here we are three or four years later, and not one person has been laid off because of this situation.”
How You Can Support Religious Freedom in 2016
God uses ordinary people like Blaine, and you and me, to accomplish extraordinary things. Blaine trusted God to provide for his employees and his family, and God used you to meet that need! Because of your support, ADF was able to defend Blaine at no cost to him. Through your faithful giving and prayerful support, you helped win this victory for Blaine. Thank you for supporting religious freedom in 2016 and beyond!
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