God Doesn’t Need a Yard Sale

This past weekend we took off for the country, Amish country actually, to enjoy some activities and relaxation. I reviewed churches in the area, hoping to find brethren to join in worship and grounded scriptural preaching. One church seemed very conservative and doctrinally sound. I called them and learned that their worship is not flashy or entertaining but prepared to exalt God. They are a large congregation, with two services to accommodate hundreds of attendees.

I also learned from their website that one of their families had incurred a great loss. Their barn, with all their animals, had burned down. The church website posted a ‘Yard Sale’ to address the great need to build a new barn. People could donate things to sell. I myself do not have a yard but know enough about yard sales – they are a source of extra income, not a windfall. Perhaps this is just a ministry’s kind gesture. Surely the Body will rise up to the need of the members!

My heart recalled the days of Times Square Church, where the Holy Spirit pressed forth through the pulpit. The greatest joy was seeing His redemptive work as drug addicts, prostitutes, the broken and despairing were called to repentance and new life. Broadway actors found their way to the Truth, tourists dropped in and found something of Life to bring back home. I often invited ex-convicts whom I supervised.

Serving the Lord was a great honor, as was providing for His servants. There was never a time of ‘convincing’, ‘cajoling’, or pressuring the Body. The Holy Spirit would move hearts without hesitation. Once, for example, a beloved pastor known to our church, was in need. He was a pastor in Siberia, serving God amongst many drug addicts, alcoholics, and impoverished. Pastor Dave Wilkerson came to the pulpit and said, “We learned that the church in Siberia needs a new roof, if anyone feels led to contribute.” Bob and I were not prepared at that moment to give but would surely bring an offering later. Too late! Before the service was over, the need was met. Bob and I were actually disappointed, we missed the honor of providing for a beloved servant.

Before our trip I went to the bank to get some checks. This time, we would be prepared for the Lord to call upon us!

We arrived as the worship service started. It was a large, modern sanctuary for a congregation of about one thousand. The songs did indeed exalt the Lord, one I had never heard bowed my heart and teared my eyes…

However, when I opened my eyes and looked around, everyone else was singing like statues. Ok.

Sermon outlines were available and, when a pastor rose to preach a message, it was clear he would be preaching on persecution. He followed the outline and the scriptures therein however, the sword seemed dull and the waters stagnant, my mind wandered and Bob fell asleep in his chair. Ok.

I was still thinking of the ‘Smith’ family, living next to the ashes of their barn. Was there room at the pulpit for the Holy Spirit’s plea?

Although there were happy events and fellowships happening, there was no plea – perhaps this family were not really members? After the service we left the sanctuary and went to a big counter called INFORMATION. A woman greeted us and, learning that we were visitors, began reaching for ‘welcome’ brochures and information. I asked about the ‘Smith’ family barn…

“I saw that the ‘Smith’ family’s barn burned down recently. Are they members of your church?”

“Oh yes!”

“It sounds like a tremendous loss, esp with their farm animals and equipment…”

“Yes, they’re farmers, it’s their livelihood, a terrible loss…”

“Oh. I noticed that the church is having a Yard Sale next week. But I also read online that they need $150,000 to build a new barn. It doesn’t seem that a Yard Sale could possibly meet that need….is it just a stereo type or is it true that the Amish do ‘barn raising’ in one day for each other?”

“No, it’s true, they do. But we’re not Amish”, with that she slowly shuffled the ‘Welcome’ brochures away from us and mumbled, “If you want any more information, you’ll have to call the church office.”

“Oh, ok. thank you.”, I smiled on a cheery note, “By the way, I’m Lisa, this is my husband Bob”

She stared back in silence. No name given, welcome appeared rescinded!

Bob and I were baffled, “She didn’t want to give us her name.” “I know, and she pushed aside the brochures, out of our reach!” We didn’t plan to ‘raise the whole barn’ but wanted to partake in the Lord’s work for brethren in need. But was the Lord working?

What happened to the Holy Spirit? To the kinship of brethren? Do we believe the words we sing, that God “holds the oceans in His hands”, that He is “full of wondrous deeds”? If the Amish, working in the flesh, can gather and build a barn for their community in one day, what might the Holy Spirit do if the Body of Christ cries out to Him and believes?

“…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13

Surely the Lord calls upon His brethren, irresistibly moving their hearts to give with joy. The Holy Spirit can call various strangers to a church with open hearts to give. Great need is God’s opportunity to display His faithfulness and His life in our midst!

There’s no scriptural call to bring your unwanted possessions before the Lord. God needs no Yard Sale. All He needs is a faithful believing heart, even with a few fish and loaves, to demonstrate that He is our Father, He will provide, and He will never fail us. That’s where His testimony shines in the world!

‘Ingenuity’, ‘digital marketing’, ‘fundraising ideas’ and ‘fun small groups’ are good for social affairs, not supernatural affairs. Are our plans God-led plans? If so, they will not fail – He’s in charge and His purposes will prevail.

May we as a people hunger for and call upon God, depending upon Him, that we may be a God-led people that fulfill His will and glorify Him as we pass through this world.

20 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Need a Yard Sale

  1. There was a comment on a YouTube video featuring the Time Square Church Choir. Someone was reminiscing and referred to days gone by as the glory days. So true. I believe we were in the midst of a revival and didn’t even realize it. I wrote the following awhile ago regarding those early days…
    “I remember worshiping the Lord as a new believer, among other believers in a large congregation. Beautiful beautiful worship. True worship. And when I first heard the lyrics from “The Mighty One Of Israel” … His voice shall be heard, In the Power of His Word” … it was as if the Lord was talking directly to me as I sang.”

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. This is where many of us are today. But oh the memories, and also knowing that nothing can compare with what the Lord has prepared for us in glory! Blessings…

    • Thank you Cathy for such a beautiful response to this post. I am immensely grateful to God for leading me to TSC so many years ago. I couldn’t bear to miss a service. God always had a living word from the pulpit, often brought forth from a frontline missionary or beloved foreign pastor. Missions connected us with God’s work around the world. Many went on trips and never came back – except to testify of the Lord’s great work.
      I meant to just thank you but went on! Thank you sister, your comments stirred my heart!

  2. “There’s no scriptural call to bring your unwanted possessions before the Lord. God needs no Yard Sale.”
    AMEN. Our Heavenly Father gave us His very best when He gave us His Son. How dare we do less?

    • So true brother. Writing that line truly saddened me. Even now I think of God’s admonition through Malachi, “Try offering them to your governor. Would he be pleased with you?”
      Thank you Craig, I always appreciate hearing from you.

  3. I don’t know what part of Amish country you were in but I live in Lancaster County, PA so if you’re ever anywhere near here, I assure you I will make the drive! (I don’t know when I will be in NYC next but when I am I will let you know!). I have to say, our church is having a yard sale for a family in our church who lost their barn in a recent fire (really tragic); however, EVERYTHING that is raised is going to the family. What amazes me is how often we pray for God to meet so and so’s needs and we are often the very people whom the Lord wants to use to meet needs! Anyway, I am sorry for how this church treated y’all. How petty to not share their name with y’all. A church that does not allow questions ceases to be a church and is a members only club. Thank you for sharing this post! Love, hugs and blessings to you, Bob Starry and your other cat whose name I forget 😬😳🤦‍♀️

    • Wow Mandy, I didn’t know that you lived in Lancaster County! As I posted this article, I knew I risked offending churches that plan various fundraisers. (So glad you didn’t sound offended!)
      But my point was that the Lord delights in and longs to reign over His people. He wants our dependence upon Him. It’s His His spirit that powerfully moves the hearts of people in so many ways. When we depend on His power, rather than our own efforts, He delivers and is magnified and exalted.
      If the Lord moved a stranger to bring a check to the church, how much more would He do if the church cries out?
      I believe He’d give even more than the family needs – His giving outshines us every time!
      Thank you sister for your kind comments. The thought of ever offending you of all people weighs down my heart. If I need correction, may the Lord lay it upon me. Love and hugs to you sister, from me, Bob, Starry and…Becky!

      • I wasn’t offended at all!! Normally I would find it odd that the church was having a yard sale! We are having one of our pastors over for dinner/fellowship this evening and I will entire why we wouldn’t just give a financial gift. I do know the church wants to help this family because they lost A LOT of their livelihood with their barn burning down. I could be wrong, I think the intention of the church is that some folks won’t give financially but they will support garage/yard sales. I know for sure this family is crying out to God for help and are praising God as well for the animals he did spare. Anyway, I will let you know what I find out because you make a really great point!! Becky, ah I won’t forget this time!!! 🙏😘🤗

      • Thank you so much Mandy, you are so precious. I believe that the Lord wants us so dependent upon Him, thats when He’s most honored and worshipped.
        May the Lord reign in your church and over all of us, to be God-led people through this dark world.
        ❤ Thank you sister.

      • So here’s an update: We stopped by the yard sale on Saturday to drop off a cash donation and much of it was junk and I just shook my head. Yesterday, we received a text that the same family had their field combine burnt up in their field. Praise God no one was hurt, but is another major setback for the family. I was then convicted that maybe this yard sale helped them in ways that I do not understand. I am thankful that God meets all our needs and I am praying for this family to remain connected to God. It really is heartbreaking. Praying for you sister! Have a wonderful day in Jesus 😊🧡🌷

      • Dear Mandy, thank you for the update, Bob and I have been praying for this family and your church. Honestly, I had such churning in my heart with this post, I thought several times to take it down, thinking it was harsh. But I couldn’t ‘trash’ it. I truly believe the Lord wants to shake His Body of believers out of fleshly works. Sometimes God allows calamity and enemy to rise up to charge our hearts and draw us to Him in utter dependence.
        God wants ALL the glory and honor. He wants to move through the hearts within His Body to do His will so in the end, no fleshly plan glories but all say, “Look what God has done!”
        True worship rises up bc we’re so much closer to Him, He’s revealed Himself in greater measure.
        God’s power flows through the faith, zeal, and “fire” in our hearts – I pray we grasp ahold of this .
        May that family see the Lord rebuild their life and barn, and be glorified amongst you all.
        Thank you sister.

      • If I have come across as if you should take this post down then I am sorry, that was never my intention!! I am totally with you about focusing on spiritual things, seeing God work, move, provide etc. I agree totally about God allowing calamity to occur for people to come to Christ, to depend on Him; 1000% in agreement with you. I also realize the focus of your post was on how the church you visited treated you and Bob, totally haven’t lost sight of that message and am encouraged yet not surprised that you are praying for that church (and my church as well!). God loves your intercessory heart!

        The reason I share this is because it has become personal. While we are new to the church (and new members as well) we knew that God was calling us there. When we heard about their fire we were compelled to pray for them. A little over a month ago we were invited into a life/small group and unbeknownst to us the family who is suffering this calamity is in the small group. We are scheduled to meet at their place this Sunday; however, I asked Nathan if we should extend the invitation to meet at our place so as to not burden this family (this may not sound like a big deal but EVERYONE has children except Nathan and I and I can be VERY type A with lots of children in my abode. I know sister, that is wrong of me! God has given us a place to share with others!).

        I appreciate this post and discussion more than you will ever know! Please know that I am in agreement with you and focused on the things of God and I pray that God will help use me to minister and love on this family. Thank you for your patience with me and if you want to delete my comments, if they aren’t helpful or edifying please do so I won’t be offended! I love you and I genuinely thank God for you!!!! 🤗🌷

      • I wouldn’t DREAM of deleting your comments! They mean a lot to me. No dear sister, the churning in my heart started as soon as I posted it, some hard things were said in the article but when I revisited I couldn’t take them away.
        Really, we actually need more Mandys in the church! 😀
        The Lord is doing something here, I pray that we’ll all see it and He be high and lifted up!
        Thank you sister, and I surely “genuinely thank God for you!!!” ❤⚘

  4. An odd experience. Any of us who travel to visit other states and cities and visit different churches probably have some negative and weird experiences to share. Sometimes it is good to visit a church more than once before having a final opinion.

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