Back before Craigslist, local Facebook sales sites and even eBay, my sister and I used to love to have garage sales. Who doesn’t like to purge junk and make money at the same time? Take all my useless junk, put it in the garage and then people actually come to me and pay me for my useless trash… uh hellooooooo- perfect!
I cleaned out my closets and purged the rest of my house. My older two boys even got in on the action and searched their rooms for everything they wouldn’t want and they put it in with the garage sale junk.
The boys had everything from clothes, to fast food toys, to stuffed animals. We piled them all together and priced them to sell- or practically give away. Then we took them to my sister’s garage where there was plenty of traffic. We set everything out for display and we were ready to wheel and deal!
We were sitting outside my sister’s little yellow house, in the faded black driveway. We opened the garage doors to welcome our customers- who had lined up an hour before the sale even started and they began to attack the garage sale items–like ants on picnic food. If you’ve never been to a garage sale they are full of different types of people. Excited people looking for a good deal, Moms looking for gently used clothing or toys and then there are those who are grumpy and looking to ruin your day. Every single one of these people are on a mission. This early, summer morning garage sale was no different. We were super busy at first having to add up all the items and throw them in our recycled grocery bags while trying to keep track of who’s stuff was what. It can be very stressful being slammed at a garage sale. But in a weird way it’s fun. The adrenaline is pumpin’, people are negotiating prices, lots of excitement in the air. Items were selling quick and shortly after we opened, everything had been picked over and all the “good” items were gone. At least I thought so.
Things had slowed down tremendously. One or two people would stop by, walk in, take a peek at the “left overs” and without saying a word, turn around and leave. No one had come for a while so my sis and I were kicked back relaxing in our folding chairs drinking some iced tea and the kids were passing a baseball in the front yard when in pulls this classy looking Oldsmobile. Very shiny and clean. It was a beautiful car and as the driver’s side door opened, the most darling elderly man got out of his car- dressed to the nines. He had on a nice gray suit and a black fedora hat on top of his thinned silver haired head. He slowly got out of his car and made his way over to the garage.
“How’s your day ladies?” He asked in a soft spoken voice.
“Just wonderful” My sister and I responded in our perky voices.
“Do you have anything specific you’re looking for?” I asked him cheerfully.
“I do, but I’m just going to take a look around for myself if that’s ok.” He said
“Sure thing, you just let us know if you need any help!” I said. And then my sister and I started gabbing to one another about nothing really- clothes, the kids, new recipes…
Pretty soon that precious little gentleman had brought over what I thought was an old tore up, worn out teddy bear- all dusty and worth nothing. It was an old tattered little guy that’s best days were behind him. He was used up and no good to anyone anymore—at least in my eyes. I hadn’t thought this stuffed, dust collector was worth much so I only put 25 cents on the tag thinking I would end up just throwing it in the trash.
Oh the tenderness in this sweet elderly man’s eyes. I looked at him and then looked at the teddy bear. Realizing how ridiculous a quarter was, I told him he could just have it. In a gentle yet firm voice he said “No Ma’am! I want to pay for this purdy little thing. My wife went into the hospital yesterday and I don’t know when she is going to come out. I’ve been looking for the perfect gift for her and I just found it. I’m going to purchase this for her so she has someone to keep her company while I’m not there with her. And when she looks at this cute bear, she will think of me. She is going to love this little guy. Thank you very much!”
I took the quarter and was just dumbfounded. It’s not often that I’m speechless and at this moment, I was.
“Thank you sir- you have a great day. We will be praying for your wife.” My sister said.
And he turned and went. He slowly made his way down the paved drive into his car. All I could do was just sit and watch this precious man- no words could describe what I just witnessed. As he pulled away, I still couldn’t get over how this moment- spoke to my heart.
You see, I’ve been that teddy bear. Felt thrown out to the garage and felt like I was worth nothing. No one would want me, my best days were behind me and that I was sitting in a dark corner while all the “good” items around me were taken and I was left for nothing.
But just like that precious elderly man, Christ came looking for me. He knew EXACTLY what he was looking for. He was looking for me.
when others thought I was worthless, He paid far more than what others and even I, thought I was worth. He paid the price of His Life. He took me out of the dark corner of the garage and brought me into His glorious light. So that I could be an encouragement to others. He wanted me to live out His purpose and plan for my life.. So when others would look at me, they would see HIM! My value far exceeded anything me or those around me could imagine.
Here’s the best part- He didn’t just do it for me. He did it for you too! Maybe today, you are feeling like an old worn, washed out, dirty, dusty teddy bear whose best days are behind them. Let me tell you that you are not defined by how you are feeling, nor by others’ opinions or thoughts of you. Scripture says “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Eph 1:11-12 (MSG)