So many of my posts start with an idea hatched while I was out walking. This one is no different. I love to walk and talk to God and have time to hear Him respond.
On this day, I walked up to an intersection and looked down the side street. There appeared to be a sale in one of the driveways, or maybe they had just moved stuff out to clean the garage? I looked around for the typical, brightly colored signs to indicate a sale, but saw none. Curious, I turned the corner and went to check it out. I’m glad I did, because God had something meaningful for me to learn.
As I neared the property which had caught my attention, a neighbor pulled up in a truck. He got out and addressed the couple in the driveway by name.
“Hey, I thought I saw you guys out here selling when I left for the store, but I wasn’t sure. I looked for signs on the way back, but I never saw them.” His words phrased a statement, but his face was inquisitive. The woman turned to her sale partner, who said “Yeah, we didn’t make any signs. It seemed like a lot of work.”
I had reached the area, quickly perused the sale, and turned back toward the route from which I had come. But his words rung in my ears. “Didn’t make signs”? “Too much work”? How did they expect to sell what they had painstakingly taken the time to arrange outside if nobody knew they were selling it?
Granted, they may have put an ad in the paper or advertised in some other way. But around here, a trail of brightly colored signs leading traffic from the main road to your house is expected. It is part of the fun of a garage sale.
I was amused. I walked a few blocks away. The words were still in my head, and I was still smiling. And then I asked God about it.
“Lord, did you have me notice and approach that garage sale just to overhear that comical conversation? It sure made an impression on me. I can’t shake the feeling that You want me to learn something from it.”
It was just a few steps later when I felt God nudging my thoughts. “How successful can a sale be, if nobody knows you’re selling?” And then He was more direct, “What are you selling?”
“I’m promoting the Gospel”, I thought in response.
“What signs have you put up to draw people to your sale?”, He asked. I thought back over the past few days. There were a few fresh faces around. I’d been to a new hair salon and met a couple of my kids’ friends. And you know what? I hadn’t put up any signs.
Sure, I’d put my wares on display and tried to arrange them attractively. I’d used buzzwords like “blessing” and “prayer”. I’d been kind and compassionate. But I hadn’t made signs to lead people from where they were to the saving grace of Jesus.
How would one make a sign selling salvation? Just like a garage sale sign, it would have to catch attention and give clear direction. I’ve seen the quote:
“Preach the Gospel at all times; and if you must, use words.”Author Unknown
I think we must use words – the words of God, whenever possible. We need to live so differently than the world that we catch the attention of the people around us. And then we must tell them Who we emulate and why.
The 1 meaningful thing I learned from the garage sale without signs is that if we want to offer Jesus to others, we need to point the way.
We need to be the signs!
What do you think that looks like? How can we be clear and direct signs which people can follow from where they are to the arms of Jesus?