Are you the kind of person who loves garage sales? I like the opportunity for other people to pay me to haul away the things I don’t need anymore. On the other hand, a whole lot of effort has to be put in for the reward.
After moving twice in the last year, we cleaned out most of our superfluous possessions, but when our HOA announced an upcoming community garage sale, the chance to connect with our neighborhood was too good for us to pass up.
Laura used her organization wizardry to set us up for success and I hauled out our trusty ol’ pop-up canopy and rocking chairs. It was a meager selection at best, but we drew enough traffic to make it worth our while. We were there to sell our stuff, but we were mostly hoping our neighbors might drop by and hang out for a while.
Garage sales are one of the few places today where neighborliness naturally occurs.
Sure enough, we got to hang out with our friends from a few doors down whose adorable baby finds our rambunctious toddler amusing. Later, our neighbor at the corner stopped by too and we sat and shared a cup of cold-brew coffee while a few customers perused the sale.
As we were sitting there, a pair of men in pastel-colored, short-sleeved shirts and ties came walking down the street stopping door to door. Laura and our neighbor guessed they were salesmen, so we turned on our best salesmanship charm and tried to convince them to buy the standing desk we were selling, and I think we caught them off guard.
Turns out, they they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Oops.
After they regained their composure, we offered them water and made friendly small talk. The older of the two then started asking us some pre-rehearsed questions. The conversation turned from friendly to somewhat forced, but we played along. He asked us if we thought God cared about us, and I don’t think he was ready for our answer.
First, let's backtrack a bit. You'll remember that our neighbor was sitting there with us? We've had several friendly dinners with this neighbor and know she isn't connected to a church, but the opportunity to dig deep into spiritual conversation had just never presented itself. Until our garage sale--then God really started something amazing.
Over the next few minutes, I got to share the Gospel in the simplest, most clear way I think I’ve ever been able to express it in my life. His eyes widened a little bit and I confessed that I was a pastor and my wife was a Director of Christian Education. I gave him my card and said we should grab lunch. I pray that he was able to hear us that day, but he was so intent on completing his script that I wasn’t able to know for sure. He wasn’t the only one listening, though.
After our JW visitors moved on to the next house, we were able to springboard to more conversation with our neighbor... conversation that might not have happened if we hadn’t been sitting in our driveway, having a garage sale, sipping cold-brew when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came walking up.
God showed up (in a big way) at our garage sale. He met these JW visitors through our conversation and I can’t wait to see what He does in their lives and in the lives of our neighbors!
Maybe garage sales aren’t so bad after all.