RITE OF PASSAGE: Garage sale lessons
Garage sales are demonic. Maybe not demonic, but they can’t be more than a step from the edge of the abyss. No one in his right (or even his left) mind would hold a garage sale without the evil influence of a force from below. I’m blowing off steam because my wife announced an upcoming sale at a garage close to . . . us. Have we lost our minds? I am seriously—very seriously—praying for the return of our Lord before that eventful day. Sure, I regularly run into friends who tell me they just held a garage sale that earned more than $1,000 in eight hours. If I remember correctly (and these are the kind of memories I try to repress), when we did our last garage sale, I spent eight hours the night before putting out signs, stacking all kinds of stuff on four-by-eight sheets of plywood and covering them with a sheet so we would be ready to go in the morning.
Garage sales bring out interesting people. The first to arrive are the ones who can’t read. The signs clearly state “8 a.m.-5 p.m.,” but you’re awakened at 6:30 by a group of illiterate people walking around your driveway. They may not know how to read, but they can talk . . . loudly. And they have no problem ringing your doorbell at 6:45 to ask if you’ll take $10 for the table that holds all those bargains.
My wife informed me these illiterate-loud talkers are actually “full-time, hardcore, serious garage sales hoppers.” I knew little about this human subspecies. Apparently, they do this every weekend. They plot a course, begin early in the morning and hit as many garage sales as they can.
After sitting in the sun for hours watching throngs of people go through our junk to barter a dime item down to a nickel, I realized something important. For the garage sale addicts, the thrill comes not in the item, but in how close they can come to getting someone else’s junk free. No one intends to pay the prices scrawled on the masking tape. The art of negotiation is at its best (or at least its most intense) during a garage sale. I have a hint for the federal government: have these garage sale “hoppers” conduct our government negotiations with foreign countries. The government doesn’t exist that could withstand this kind of pressure!
At our last garage sale, I spent hours watching people pay their dimes and walk away grinning as though they had won the lottery. When everything ended, I was thankful they were . . . gone. We made something like $48.92. If you deduct the sheets of plywood, the Cokes I drank and our Whataburger lunch, I figure we cleared about 83 cents. I’m trying to convince my wife that this time we’ll call Goodwill and have them haul our stuff away. I’ll lose 83 cents and an aching back, but I’ll regain that precious two hours of sleep.
I wonder if Joseph felt like a garage sale item when his brothers stuck him in a hole and sold him into slavery. Satan always wants to come along and devalue what God has deemed valuable. Can I tell you a secret? You matter to God. You are priceless!
I have been making a list of all the people in Scripture who matter to God. You won’t believe the ones He considers important: blind people, diseased people, demon-possessed people, dead people, grieving people, hurting people, troubled people and religious people. As I reread the story of the cross, I realized thieves and murderers matter. Everybody matters to God. And that includes . . . you.
Many of you who read this article have bought into Satan’s lies. You feel like a garage sale item. But God, the Father, sent his Son, Jesus, to take the things the world has deemed non-valuable and redeem them with His shed blood. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Do your children feel non-valuable? Look into their eyes, use their first names and tell them the truth: they matter to God. Joseph knew he was more than a garage sale item. He endured pain, but his life gloriously displays God’s power and purpose.
When our sale ended, I asked my wife what to do with our 83 cents. She wanted to take it and go to . . . a garage sale.