This past Saturday we held an estate/moving sale where we tried to sell all of our earthly possessions, except those we need for traveling, those we need for before we leave and a few we plan to store.
The night before and morning of the sale Becky and I were convinced that we were crazy. We had over 15 tables stocked with stuff, and stuff lying all around in our garage, basement and all but two rooms in the main floor. Everything from the kitchen was laid out.
And we were trying trying to sell everything... the stove, the fridge, the van... EVERYTHING.
However, a fear came over me, what if, what if no one showed up? I mean an indoor yard sale in the middle of February in the snowiest winter Michigan has seen in over 30 years? Who in their right mind would go yard saling when it's snowing outside?
The sale was advertised in our local classified ads only newspaper... and yes, newspapers in rural areas still do exist, this one in particular is a hot commodity in Newaygo county. So we ran two ads for two weeks leading up to the sale. And in this neighborhood that's the best you can do.
Mind you we live on a mile long dirt road that most people who live out here didn't know existed. We've always run our yard sales at someone else's house in the "city" of Fremont because there's more people.
So, what if no one showed up? What if we have no money at the end of the day and still have all this stuff we have determined we absolutely do not need?
We decided to have a pow wow at 10am if very few people came by then (the sale started at 8am) then we'd consider this a signal that we'd need to consider a plan B.
We saw our preparation and planning as similar to how we view the work of the holy spirit within missions, we worked the soil (laid out & priced the stuff to be sold), planted the seed (ran ads, did a FB Event) and God provided the rain (People) to grow the harvest (proceeds of the sale). However we didn't yet know if God was going to provide the people. That's the thing about faith, if God doesn't show up then you look like an idiot. (Imagine what Elijah would have looked like had God not showed up when Elijah poured water on the altar.)
Oh yeah, and until that day, until the opening of that sale we had not gone past the point of no return, our house wasn't sold yet, we still had all our stuff, we hadn't purchased plane tickets and in fact we barely told anyone about it.
So on Friday afternoon when I announced it on Facebook with a Facebook Event; The texts, emails, and messages started coming in first with "where are you moving to" and then shifted over to "we need to grab a coffee or beer or something WTH?" We knew we were very close to the crossing the point of no return.
Saturday morning, before we even got out of bed, we prayed for God to send the "rain" so we would know for sure He was behind this adventure. At 7:30 when I went to put signs out and 10 minutes later had to fight through traffic to get back to my own house, I had a suspicion that God was going to provide the people.
And did he ever. Until about 10am there were so many people in the house that they had to wait for the person in front of them to move before they could take a step. At the checkout, it was a madhouse of counting and trying to be pleasant while 40 people were standing in line.
If we were using this sale as a "test" of should we or should we not go? The answer came back with a resounding "Yes, Go!"
But the best part of the story is the aftermath. We still had some stuff left over, a bunch of it is going to an urban ministry in Grand Rapids, and other stuff is being donated to Goodwill. But there are a few key things that I was nervous about selling which in fact did not sell. We're planning on leaving 30-60 days from now and living without these would be possible, but a major hurdle
- The Van - yup, it's still for sale. We don't live in the city, or near other forms of transportation, in fact we can not even get a pizza delivered to our house. 60 days without a vehicle out here wouldn't have been the greatest.
- The Fridge - yeah it too is still for sale, but it's a blessing still having one :)
- The Stove - we can cook on the woodstove, so this isn't a major issue, but the oven is very very nice to have!
- The Toaster - it's the simple things in life
- The Humidifier - it's been a really dry winter in our house
- A Lamp - this post is being written by lamp light... and we use it alot!
All of that is still up for grabs, but while living off of less we're beginning to appreciate the little things in life.
Two of the things that sold which we regret selling. A can opener, and a whisk. Like I said... the little things!