Why I Am Suspicious of All Yard Sales

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One of the passions that I really do not have is going to yard sales. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is another story.

It is my sincere belief that yard sales were created with her in mind. There is not a yard sale within a 150-mile radius she does not know about. If she does not know about a yard sale, it probably is not a legitimate yard sale.

Long ago I have come to the point that I will not go anywhere with my wife on a Saturday morning. That is usually when most of the yard sales are and she has several times tricked me into going with her.

At the time, I thought we were going to a restaurant, but along the way, there were 175 stops at yard sales. By the time we got to the restaurant, I was so yard saled out that I couldn’t order lunch. Fortunately, the Yard Sale Lady was in such high spirits she ordered for me.

Throughout the years I have made the mistake of seeing a cup and making casual conversation, “That’s a nice cup, where did you get it?”

I’m looking for the answer to be, “I really don’t know, I’ve forgotten.” That is what I was expecting, but what I got was a detailed explanation of where she got it, what she paid for it, when she got it and every item that was at that yard sale that day.

By the time she is done, I had forgotten the question.

Going to yard sales is not the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world is when my wife plans and organizes a yard sale. Every year she organizes the church yard sale, and as you would guess, it gets bigger and bigger.

At least three months leading up to the yard sale I am on pins and needles. I need to tiptoe around the Parsonage because I know that someone, not me, is on the prowl for items for the yard sale. I’m surprised I haven’t been sold at the yard sale yet.

She will come into my office area, casually look around and say something like, “You sure have a lot of books in this library, don’t you?”

What she is doing is not appreciating my library, but trying to trick me into donating books from my library to her church yard sale. It is a very dangerous time in our house.

She will then come into my office area, pick up one of my special fountain pens, and say something like, “How long have you had this pen?”

Again, she is not inquiring about the pen, but trying to trick me into donating that fountain pen to the yard sale.

Nobody knows this, so do not let it get around, but I have a small pocketknife collection. I have been collecting these pocketknives ever since I was a young boy. I enjoy looking at them and I always have one on my person wherever I go, except in the shower.

I was looking at my collection the other day and my wife happens to come in and started admiring my collection. I must confess she caught me off guard because I was admiring my collection as well. And I happened to smile.

That is one thing you do not do in front of my wife. Because when you smile, she’s got you!

So, not realizing what was happening, I smiled.

Then it happened!

Looking at my pen-knife collection, she said something like, “Look at these two knives.” And she picked them up very carefully and looked at them. “They look alike don’t day? Do you need two knives that look the same?”

It was then that I firmly closed the lid on my knife collection and slowly walked away.

As the church yard sale got closer, I got more nervous. I do not mind donating to good causes, but I am not going to donate something that I am tricked into donating.

The week before the yard sale, my wife was walking around the house graciously looking in my office and smiling at me. Each day I got more nervous. Each day she smiled at me a smile that began to worry me to the very core of my being.

What was she smiling about? What was she doing or taking from my office that I did not know about?

All week long leading up to the yard sale I was very nervous. I was so nervous and concerned about the situation that I did the only thing I possibly could do at the time. I volunteered to help at the church yard sale.

That way, I could see if any of my things were at the church yard sale.

That night after the yard sale, we were sitting in the living room just resting. My wife said, “Thanks so much for helping in the yard sale today.”

It was then I realized what had happened. She was playing me every day of the week. She was not going to take any of my stuff, but she wanted me to think it so I would volunteer to help at the yard sale.

She wins this one, for certain.

Jesus said it best when he said, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth,” (Matthew 6:3).

True giving is between you and the Lord.

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About James Snyder

The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 22 books altogether. He has recently signed a six-book contract with Regal Books based on the preaching ministry of Dr. A. W. Tozer. His weekly humor column, "Out To Pastor," is syndicated to more than 100 weekly newspapers. Through thirty-35 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren.
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