We have an opportunity here in our subdivision twice a year, to do a garage sale. I am not a garage sale type of person, nor do I buy things normally, that I change my mind about, but, I find that having garage sales can be a good way to promote the Gospel message.
My daughters have a lot of stuff to sell, so they usually do the garage sale at our house. I don't have much to sell, but I do make loaves of cinnamon bread to sell, in order to bring in some pocket change for me. One man came back yesterday to our garage sale, because he remembered the bread, and more specifically, the bread that I put the raisins in! I also made cookies and they sold like hot cakes!
I am not into baking food that is not good for us anymore, but, I know that those who go to garage sales enjoy the loaves and cookies, so I will make those specifically at this time. Of course, I will use the very best ingredients I can find, for what I am making and for the audience I am baking for.
But, even more importantly, we have a table of free items we give out. On this table we give out New Testaments, toys imprinted with Scriptures and/or a Gospel message, books, and tracts. One other interesting thing I have done is to print out a copy of a poem called, 'If Jesus Came To Your House' and then laminated it. I display it in a plastic frame and for the past two garage sales, people have wanted this picture/poem (they even wanted the plastic frame!).
Many people thank me for offering the stuff on this table. They are grateful for what I put out. I have not yet heard anyone be antagonistic about it, and I don't try to make people take anything from the table. If they don't want it, I just leave them alone.
The table is a great way to start conversations with people. Yesterday, a man came by who was part of some kind of benevolence ministry. He seemed familiar with the Gospel, yet, he himself was not part of any church. I met a young woman who was familiar with the Gospel and we talked for a long time. I got to meet her and we became friends. Many took the toys home. I have a sign that tells the people to take only one toy per person, but I see many take quite a few home with them. The toys have urls on them for people to go to. The beach balls are a favorite, and they go quickly. Imprinted on them are the words 'What Can Wash Away My Sin?' and on the other side 'Nothing But The Blood of Jesus!' www.thegoodtest.net
I put out 3 'Evidence Bible' New Testaments and they were gone by the time I cleaned up. The wind has a way of blowing the tracts around, but people loved them as well. Many were fascinated with the 'Giant Money' tracts and took them home as if they were souvenirs.
My husband compiled a book as well, and some of those were taken. This book ministers to a certain group of people and brings the hope of the Gospel to those who are grieving. Here is the book sold on amazon
One time, we had a woman who wanted several copies to hand out to some women at a ladies meeting.
We have given several to friends as well.
At a former garage sale, we saw something funny. Sometimes, I would get irritated at the thought of what happened. It was at my daughter's house, and we had the basket of beach balls on the sidewalk because they did not seem to get noticed by many (this was before we decided to do a 'free table'). It was time for us to start cleaning everything up because the time had come for the garage sale to be over. In the basket there were 6 beach balls left. A van pulled up and parked, and a man got out and took all the beach balls and brought them back to the van. He did not look at anything else in the garage sale that was being offered. I imagine he took the beach balls to try to resell them and make money off them, since they were free to take. But even if he did do that, the message of the beach balls was spread to whoever the recipients were, whether they were sold to them, or just given away.
Yesterday, a man who didn't speak very good English came up and took some items from the table. He wanted to take an assortment because he believed in the message and wanted others who either lived in his house or were close to him to see the message imprinted on the toys. He also took a copy of the poem and another sign I had made with a message on it. He seemed to indicate the everything on the 'free table' was a very good idea.
All we can do now is pray that God's word will penetrate the hearts of the people who took the items. Who knows, maybe some of them, like the man who came back for the loaves of bread, will come back because they are hungry for God's word? Maybe they will come back with questions and wanting to know more. Or, perhaps God will work in their hearts and send someone else to share the Gospel message with them. Maybe their time will come for salvation, and the literature and items on the free table will have had a part in playing a role in their coming to Christ. Only eternity will reveal the impact of what God will do when His word is displayed for others to receive.
" I planted. Someone else watered. But God is the One who made it grow."*
All we can do is sow seeds and water them. God is the One who activates His word in a person's heart. He makes the word come alive. He gives life and makes things grow.
* Taken from 1 Corinthians 3:6