Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

My grandchildrens’ Mimi said to me the other day – ‘All this stuff is going in our next yard sale.’ Why is it that something you just had to have last year or two years or five years ago winds up at the yard sale this year?  Could it have something to do with the declining worth of that bright orange, yellow, blue, purple, and green dress with matching knee-high socks that were ‘just darling’ when we bought it? And what is it about a yard sale that will draw people like ants to a cube of sugar? What is it that makes Mimi and her friend Betty Pinion get up on Saturday morning at an hour when only farmers, deer hunters, policemen, and paper boys are up? Could it be the search for lost treasures?

And why did we never have a yard sale back home at Route 4? A line of cars coming down that dusty dirt road could only mean that a bunch of people are lost or the family reunion is at our house this year!  So many questions painted across the canvas of my memory at the mention of the words yard sale. Why, I’ve even heard of one continuous yard sale that stretches across Kansas or some far western state for miles and miles and miles.

Could it be that the thought that somebody might want an old pair of denim pants with holes in the knees never entered our mind back in those Camelot days of corn-shucking and cotton-picking? And besides, there was always a younger brother or sister to wear those hand-me-downs. Except, of course, when Estelle entered the Martin line-up there were five boys ahead of her. Mother was so happy to see a little girl, she wasn’t about to dress her little darling in OshGosh overalls and brogan work shoes! So she had that unique privilege of picking out something from the Sears & Roebuck catalog and sending away for it and hoping it arrived in time for Easter Sunday. And then Anne would get the hand-me-downs! And overnight and next day shipping have almost eliminated the element of anticipation for anyone under forty years old. But I’m down a side road here – back to the main road!

What something is worth is usually determined by what someone is willing to pay for it, right? Have you ever watched a yard sale negotiation? ‘Does it work’ and ‘where are the rest of the parts’ are worth-determination questions. The value has already been determined. Why else would it be in the yard sale, anyway? Come on now, is that lava lamp that doesn’t lava anymore really worth ten dollars? It’s just gathering dust in that great hole in space we call an attic! So, when someone offers fifty cents for it, they just became the proud owner of that lava lamp! You take their fifty cents before they change their mind, right? And as they walk away, they’re heard to remark about what a nice door-stop it will make! Now why didn’t I think of that? Oh well, maybe I’ll see one at the next yard sale. Load up, let’s go – it’s almost daylight. Somebody might get that lava lamp before I get there!  

Worth and value – two words to consider as we look at that person hiding in our bathroom mirror today. If worth is determined by what someone is willing to pay, how do we determine value? This is just my opinion, and you can put fifty cents with it and buy you a lava lamp door-stop, but I think in today’s world we sometimes confuse value and valuables.  Something that has no value to us anymore could be valuable in the sight of someone else. And the price they are willing to pay for it determines its worth.

So just how much are you worth? Not net worth, but self-worth. I think I remember somewhere from some class in school many years ago that the elements of the human body are worth about a buck-fifty. There used to be an old Route 4 saying about somebody that thought very highly of himself. We would say that if we could buy him for what he’s worth and sell him or what he thinks he’s worth, we’d be rich! Also, back home if we really, really liked something, say  like that new hand-made sling-shot or that new Barlow pocket knife we picked cotton to buy, we’d say it was worth more than all the cows in Texas. Or more than all the tea in China. Or more than all the gold in Fort Knox! And you would never, I mean never, see my sling-shot or Barlow pocket knife on a table at a yard sale!

Aren’t you happy that God never has a yard sale! Again, this is just my opinion, but I don’t believe there will be any yard sales or junk yards in Heaven ‘cause God doesn’t make any junk! You and I and every person He has ever created or will ever create are like rare art work that sells for a gazillion dollars at an art auction! You see, our value was determined over two thousand years ago when God was willing to pay a huge price for our life. In 1 Corinthians 7:23, Paul told the folks at Corinth that ‘you were bought at a price.’ And that price was the very life of God’s Only Begotten Son! No piece of art or antique car or ancient pottery ever sold for such a dear price as was paid for you and me. Red and yellow, black and white, we are all precious in His sight. Right about there would be a good place to shout ‘Hallelujah’ or at least say ‘Amen!’ 

 It’s not the change in our pocket that counts – it’s the change in our heart. One can get you a lava lamp; the other can get you a walk on the streets paved with gold! And that will be worth it all.