LIVING AS APPRENTICES
Eugene Peterson encourages us to expect every job we get or every task we are assigned to be “a container for grace.” Yesterday the grace overflowed the container.
Our neighborhood sponsored a yard sale on Saturday – an annual event. Since I am cleaning and purging, I took a deep breath (I hate yard sales!) and decided to participate. As I went through the house, the pile of stuff to sell grew, but deep down I wondered, “Who would buy this?” By Thursday items were gathered and prices were determined with my sister Barb’s help (grace). On Friday I moved the tables and items close to the front door to facilitate the nightmare of setting up at 7:00 AM the next day.
And on Saturday, God taught me many lessons about grace in the container of a yard sale. My husband and I wrangled three card tables, an 8′ rectangular table, two folding chairs, and loads of stuff out to the front yard. This is where the grace starts: the table had been given to me a few weeks ago, my son and my sister brought over card tables, and a friend volunteered to help me organize. (See I Can Help You with That blog – link is below.) My friend arrived at 7:30 to help me organize. Business was slow, but her continual re-design of the tables helped attract people. My biggest worry was that nothing would sell, and I would have to haul all this stuff back in the house, call a non-profit to pick it up on Monday, and listen to my husband’s “I told you so’s.”
My friend left at noon and my sister Barb arrived to take her place. I gratefully went into the cool house to get some lunch. About 20 minutes later my friend returned with the news that her neighbor, who was also having a yard sale, had scheduled a truck to pick up his “left-overs” that afternoon. She had called the organization to see if they could pick up mine, too. They agreed. I was ecstatic (more grace!). Then she arrived again about 30 minutes later with some boxes in which to pack the unsold stuff!
Barb and I had a slow afternoon which gave us lots of time to talk (more grace!). People did did stop by, however, and little by little my orphaned stuff found new homes. It was a beautiful day, but very warm, and we moved our chairs further and further into the shade. However, the sun still did its work – I got a real “farmer’s” sunburn.
Mid-afternoon my friend called to say that the non-profit truck was at her neighbor’s and would be here soon. As Barb and I began dismantling the yard sale, placing everything on the large table, I asked her, “Do you think I dare ask the truck driver to carry this table in the house?” She frowned. I sighed, assuming that request would be asking for too much grace.
Barb finally told me to sit down and relax (more grace), and she hauled the card tables and chairs to our cars and packed them away, and left to return the tables. I went inside to wait for the truck. Finally the truck -really a van -arrived and two young men jumped out. I worried that the file cabinet and the stereo component shelving wouldn’t fit in the van. In five minutes it was all packed! All that remained was the 8′ table. My heart sank as I looked at it.
And then the biggest miracle of grace occurred. “Do you want me to bring the table in the house for you?” the van driver said. I nearly cried. “Thanks so much!” I said. I hurried ahead of him hold the door and show him where to put it. “Do you want me to set it up?” he asked. I nodded speechlessly and thought about a Biblical story of angels appearing at Abraham’s tent. The van pulled away, and I collapsed!
I’m documenting this story (probably ad nauseum) so that you and I never forget that God provides everything we need – and then some.