Yard Sale God

My daughter decided to clean her room. I know I should close the post here and wait for the Vatican rep to show up to verify it as a legitimate miracle. A diplomatic way to broach this subject is to say she is not offended by the “lived-in” look. She has a conservationist’s bent on time wasted cleaning. That is compounded by the fact that she is somewhat of a pack rat.

She gets it honest. I hang on to things myself. I’m moderately legendary in my exploits as an arm-chair engineer. Generally, I pile up items that could have some use in repairing our considerable stock of vintage (read old) household items. I inherited the collection gene from my mom. She is an equal-opportunity saver.

Bible-tape-226x300A few years ago my wife and I were helping my mom clean out a storage area. We ran across the entire Bible on 8-Track in its own carrying case. Sadly, only moments after finding out my mom was a hipster, the irony of those tapes was paled by the discovery of a working player for the box-set Bible. She may not be a hipster, but she does have the Ten Commandments on 8-track. Okay, okay, set aside the ridiculously cool idea of 8-track Jesus and focus.

In the spirit of clean-up, my daughter created several piles of stuff. She got this idea from her first-born, type A, list-maker mom. There was a pile for trash. There was a pile for put-away. There was a pile for “OOH! I didn’t know I had that.” Then there was a pile for “I don’t want it but it’s still good.” That last pile was the pile of great promise.

This girl is an entrepreneur. She saw this pile of good but unwanted items as her means to all sorts of future goodies. She immediately set up a yard sale. No, not in the yard. It was in her room where she could display the items in their natural habitat along with colorful signs emblazoned with prices. I watched her feverishly clean and exhibit the wares, her ticket to financial freedom. This would be an invitation only sale targeting financial whales.

As all the merchandising was happening I thought, “Who does she plan to guide through these discount dream deals?”

I turned back to my screen and began to write with the essence of that question still dancing in my brain. That’s when I heard my wife’s voice. She was taking the tour and complimenting the cleaning. My answer came when I overheard my wife say:

“I already bought most of that stuff the first time. I’m not paying for it again.”

The little scammer tycoon was trying to hock her leftovers on her own mother. After the smirk of pride left my face, the idea of what she was doing settled on me. She intended to take what was given to her and sell it back to the one who gave it. Holy crap! I’ve been doing that for years.

“Hey God, if you’ll get me out of this ticket, I’ll go to church Sunday.”

“A little help here God. I’ll go serve food at the homeless shelter this weekend if you get me the class I need.”

“I’ll give you FIFTEEN PERCENT if you make this Pick-5 a hot one.”

“God, heal my mom of cancer. I promise I will give you my life.”

“Okay, I’ll serve you. Just don’t send me to Africa.”

I reminisced about my life. I thought back to the countless flea market and yard sale and consignment deals I had made with God. I tried to sell God my time–the time He gave me. I tried to sell Him my finances—the jack He provided. I tried to sell Him my life—the one He breathed into existence. I tried to sell Him my acts of service—the ones He gave me the strength for. I tried to bargain with God. I tried to play that old shell game but I didn’t have a pea or shells of my own. I guess I was trying to take the things I didn’t want and parlay them into something I did. I thought my life belonged to me. I failed to recognize it for the gift it is.

Have you ever tried to yard sale God something that was already His?

16 thoughts on “Yard Sale God

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  1. That’s some epic imagery right there, Ken. I’m thinking this one will stick with me this week. Thanks for this post!


  2. Excellent post, Ken. Yes, I spent years trying to yard sale God. But, you are right. Our life is a gift and trying to haggle with God is pointless and a waste of time.


  3. Loved it! I think I just tried to yard sale God yesterday and this is after I had read your post. I hate having such a (SQUIRREL!) short attention span.


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