So, I had my first garage sale this weekend. I'll admit, part of it was exciting. I loved seeing the joy that the things that I had loved brought to someone else. But, on the other hand, I hated the rejection. Garage sales are not for the tender-hearted.
On the first day of the two day sale, I stayed out for only three hours. There were some who stopped and looked around, some bought, some bartered and some left with nothing. It was interesting to watch each person. I wondered how many were looking for something specific, and how many were just out to find a great deal on whatever.
What I didn't like were the people who didn't even get out of their cars. They would slow down and look at my spread from the comfort of their cars. Then they would just keep driving! I hate rejection in any form! I'll admit, I am a proud person and it was hard not to take it personally. I mean, really! Why wouldn't the things that had brought me so much happiness were deemed unworthy by those who could not even get a close enough look to see their true value.
Member missionary work is a lot like a garage sale. We have something that has brought us great joy. We set it out there for others to partake. Some stop and look around, some listen, and some leave with nothing. There are others who aren't even willing to stop and listen. They slow down enough to judge at a distance, and take off. Yes, there are a lot of similarities.
I stayed out only three hours that first day because, honestly, I just got tired of people driving by. It sounds silly, but it was hard not to take it personally. I hate rejection in all forms! So, I packed up after three hours did laundry instead.
The next day I tapped into my reservoir of inner strength and laid all of my things out again. I managed to stay out the full seven hours. There were still those people that drove right on by, but this day I concentrated more on the people that stopped to look. I struck up conversations, learned about them and shared stories and information about the items I was passing on. It was interesting to note that when I got to know people, they stayed longer. They were also more apt to take something home with them when they understood the value and sentimentality of it. It became something of value, not just something.
Again, it is the same with sharing the gospel. When you get to know people, strike up conversations and learn about them, they will want to get to know you too. When you share stories about how the gospel has helped you, and you share your testimony, they are more apt to bring it into their lives. They begin to see the Gospel as something of value, not just something.
At the end of the second day, I had a few things left. I put up a big sign that said, "All Free." A lovely family pulled up.
"Really, all free?" they asked.
"Yes, all free."
I watched this family grab and take almost everything. I'm not even sure if they wanted it. I guess things look more attractive when there is no personal cost (that's a great idea for another post!) I started to feel a little annoyed, until I turned around and noticed their little girl. She must have been seven or eight. She was holding up the basket I had filled with stuffed animals. She was going to take them all. The look on her face was priceless. She stood there, holding up this heavy basket, grinning from ear to ear. I could tell by their appearance and vehicle that they didn't have a lot of money. It must have been a neat experience for her to have something given to her. I felt good.
That experience with the young girl made the two days of rejection worth it. She was happy, down to her core. She held the stuffed animals and giggled. I knew she would love them.
D&C 18:15 reads, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
We are commanded to be a light on the hill, to be the watchmen, to spread the Gospel. It is not easy, yet the Lord has saved this work for the small and simple (that would mean that I definitely qualify!) There will be rejection. But, when you meet that one person (hopefully more!) that stops long enough to talk, which listens and learns and decides to take the Gospel home- it will all be worth it.
I don’t' know when I will hold a garage sale again. But I do know when I will be a missionary; today, tomorrow, and every day after that. I know I will be rejected. But, I also know that there will be a time when that one person will hear the Gospel and feel the Spirit. And when they accept the Gospel, they will smile from ear to ear, and they will love it. And I will feel good.