Monday, July 25, 2011

Yard selling for the least of these

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’                 Matthew 25:37-40

I couldn’t stand the clutter in my house, so I decided to have a yard sale.   Since the purpose of the yard sale is to de-clutter my house, of course it made sense to have the yard sale at a different location.  One of my sisters-in-law graciously allowed me to invite myself to use her yard, and I spent two of the warmest July mornings of my entire life in the United States manning this yard sale last week.  I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I got to spend time with my sisters-in-law, my Mother-in-Law and some of my nephews and nieces.  My boys loved it too because they were able to play to their hearts content with their cousins.  So it was a hot, yes, but at least it wasn’t snowing! 

As the hours went by I watched “customers” come and go.  Some would browse lightly and leave with polite smiles that screamed  “There’s nothing but junk in here!”  Others would spend time in careful consideration, examining exquisite pieces of fine mass-produced trinkets, only to put them back on the table and move on to the next equally unimpressive item, finally concluding that they were not what they thought they were.  There would also be the “expert” looker who is always searching for the items we don’t have, like the gentleman who wanted World War II memorabilia. 

Occasionally, on the dry yard would stroll the sincere, hard-core yard selling enthusiast who seeks a weekly thrill as he or she peruses unexpected treasures with a twinkle in the eye.  This, of course, is my favorite kind of “customer,” because I know this one will buy something.  This type never went to a yard sale where he/she couldn’t find something to purchase.  Sure she bargains, offering less than what the colorfully marked price suggested, but to her I joyfully reply, “Yes, it’s yours!” 
This one knows that there is good all around us.  There is always something that someone else can use.  She usually makes purchases not only for her own use, but always has others in mind.  “This scooter would be perfect for little Johnny!”  “This chair is what my daughter needs in her patio.”  “My friend could use this TV in her camper.”  “This tree swing is great for my neighbor’s grandson.” 

It sure is a joy to appreciate the keen eye of those who love to uncover treasures in unexpected places, while having fun doing it. It is a joy because, as I think about them, I realize that many of these expert yard-sellers are fulfilling a calling to serve others by supplying their material needs - Teachers shopping for teaching aides for their undersupplied-classrooms;  Church members shopping for items for their church’s VBS and other children’s programs; Parents shopping for furniture for their children’s first apartment; Neighbors shopping for household items to help out neighbors in need. 

On and on, people stopped at our humble yard sale, hoping to find the things that will make someone else’s life a little brighter, more comfortable, easier, or a bit more bearable.  In their own unique way, they fulfill the Christian calling to love our neighbors with a cheerful heart.  They are doing it for the “least” of their brothers in a very special way.  The command is not to do it in a grand, spectacular or extravagant way.  The command is to do it!  And it is “you” who has to do it.  It is “I” who has to do it.  It is not the government through its many good-intentioned-but-fully-flawed programs.  It is “we” who have to do it, whichever way we can.  The reward will be reaped in heaven, when we hear from the lips of the Father, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23a)

After we wrapped up the sale on Saturday afternoon, we were exhausted.  It was worth the while, however, at least to me.  We laughed. We talked. We played. We complained. We shared time together as a family -  a rare treat anymore, and we made enough money to buy lunch.  I think I’ll do it again next year. 

1 comment:

  1. Simply awesome, friend. So awesome, that I think it needs to be available in Spanish . . . so I'll be back in a short while :-). Abrazos,


It would be great to hear from you! Let me know what you think.