I ended the prayer and groaned because a thought had just popped into my head.
“I have an idea,” I told my husband.
He laughed. “What’s that?”
“What if we gave everything in the garage sale away? For free.”
“If you feel like you’re being led to, we should.”
So we did 🙂
We have, well, not very much money in our bank account, but we’re still in the few richest percentages in the world:
-House that’s fully furnished!
-House with AIR CONDITIONING and HEAT
-No student debt
-Able to travel
-Flat screen TV
-MacBook and smartphones
-Closet FULL of extra things (soap, paper towels, envelopes, etc. etc.)
-Baked an apple pie from scratch this week
Okay, so these might not be what Forbes uses to determines who is the world’s richest, but they’re definitely the things that make me feel rich. So why, it felt like God was asking us, would you spend an entire day heckling people to death over nickels and dimes?
I have a better idea, He seemed to say at the end of the prayer. Why don’t you use this garage sale to bless others? Why don’t you introduce yourself to some people in the community? Why don’t you do something not for personal gain?
I love doing things the world thinks is weird. And giving away things for free is definitely weird. An Indian couple was one of the first to come to the garage sale, and the woman looked at me like I was crazy when I told her everything was free.
“…Everything? You guys don’t have to do that. That’s so nice.” She took video game chairs, a bathroom shelving unit, tank tops I had gotten at Walmart, and several other things. They packed up and drove off, probably feeling as good as I was.
I also–in true garage sale-r fashion–got Facebook messages from people wanting me to hold stuff for them.
A lesbian couple messaged saying they had absolutely nothing and wanted to know if I would help.
Another woman messaged me. She had been shot a few weeks ago in the leg and foot by her ex boyfriend, and therefore couldn’t drive. She wanted to know if I would consider holding the bathroom shelf for her until she could find someone to get her here. I told her I wouldn’t, that instead I wanted to send her a gift card so she could go buy one she liked. (I mean heck, why stop the blessings when they’re on a roll, right?) I knew we had to have some Bed, Bath + Beyond or Target gift cards somewhere since we had just gotten dozens for wedding gifts. She apologized in case she made me feel obligated to do something for her.
“Hey no worries girl!” I messaged back. “Is there any other way I can help?” (I had grand fantasies of me searching for on sale clothes/dishes/furniture at Target, renting a U-Haul, and dropping them off at her house one day. Or baking like seventeen casseroles. She’d probably call the police.)
She answered, “No, I’m still blown away by your kindness already. You may never know how much effect your kindness has on me.”
Read that part again, because it’s the reason for everything.
It’s the reason for the garage sale.
It’s the reason for Jesus.
It’s the reason we live.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2
“But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves.” -Romans 15:1
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – Hebrews 13:16
I told the woman that Jesus is the reason for my kindness. That He has given me a new heart and helps me love people everyday.
Being a blessing to others is not always something that’s as easy as foregoing HOURS of mindless pricing (yes of course I will make that sacrifice for you, Jesus). We see people travel far away from families, give up high-paying careers, endure physical and mental wounds, learn new languages and cultures, and give away so generously that their quality of life actually worsens in order for others to be held up. I pray that when I get those type of opportunities, I don’t stay in my comfort zone, but answer, “Of course I’ll help! What do you need?”
There are certain things I pray for so often that it has become a sort of mindless mantra. And when God answers the prayer, it takes me aback for a second and I think “Oh no, action is actually required now.” So last night when Kent and I prayed, “Lord, thank you for all of our blessings. Please give us opportunities to bless others too,” I didn’t know God was going to snap his fingers and give us a simple idea.
I wanted to share this story not to say, “Hey look! Kent and I did a nice thing!” but to encourage others to step out of the norm and help others when they get that feeling in their gut or in their heart. (It just might be the Holy Spirit). And just as important, remember that we’re not heroes. These are the real heroes:
Oh, and one of the best parts of this weekend is that a lady messaged asking if I would be willing to donate the unsold items to a garage sale for the Boys and Girls Club. Absolutely. May the blessings never stop 🙂