The Renovation Sale

1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." NIV

What a day! Having just returned from our 3˝ weeks in Newfoundland, there were piles and piles of things to do. The van and tent trailer had to be emptied and cleaned; suitcases were in need of emptying; pets needed to be brought back home from their various "homes away from home"; a month's worth of email awaited all of us; and piles of laundry sat in front of the washing machine. Then, of course, there was the mountain of mail that our neighbors had collected for us. It also needed to be gone through, and since it probably contained bills, it would need to be done sooner rather than later!

It was while going through the mail that I discovered the card from Mitchell's, our local Christian bookstore. They were promoting a huge sale-a "Renovation Sale", they called it. Apparently, while we had been setting up camp, chasing moose, searching out puffins and whales, and climbing mountains, they had been busy renovating. In celebration, they were offering a gift bag worth over 40$ to the first 200 customers in their store! Now who can resist an offer like that! I can't, and I immediately changed all of my plans for the day of the upcoming sale. We would be one of those "first 200 customers"!

But my wife didn't seem to "catch" my enthusiasm about the sale. She had already made plans to spend the morning baking, and nothing I said would convince her that a Renovation Sale was more important than fresh bread! And so it was, that on the morning of the sale, it was only my boys and me who climbed into the car and headed into town.

We arrived at Mitchell's 20 minutes early. We were sure we would be one of the first, but to our amazement, there were already about 150 customers lined up in front of the door!

"Let's join the Christian crowd!" My youngest one shouted out excitedly. And actually it felt kind of good to wait in a line filled with Christians. But when we were finally able to enter the store, we discovered it was way too small for 200 customers at once! Talk about what a sardine feels like! There were so many people in that small store that we didn't have a clue which way to go.

There were, indeed, GREAT sales. Advertisements said there were four different books being offered for 99 cents each. The only problem was, we couldn't locate them! All we could do was to follow the crowd! After ten minutes of being moved along by the crowd, we finally found the sales display, but there was only one kind of book left! We did manage to find another of the sales books, discarded on the wrong shelf.

It soon became apparent that the checkout lines were lengthening at an alarming rate. "We better get in line if we don't want to stay all day in here!" I stated to my kids. But they were nowhere to be found! I picked up a Tommy Tenney book that I hadn't read and headed for the checkout line, which, by now, was about a mile long (for my fellow Canadians, 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers. And no, I am NOT exaggerating; 1 mile really is 1.6 kilometers!). As I settled in to "enjoy" my wait, I noticed three ladies around me. One was Canadian, and two were originally from Germany. I noticed that the Canadian lady was holding one of the Michael Smith's books that had been on sale, and I asked her where she had found it.

"I found it over there," she said, indicating the sales table. "But there aren't any more. I took the last two copies." Then she looked at me for a moment. "Would you like a copy?" She asked.

"Well…" I said.

"Here take one of my copies. I don't need two anyway. I was going to give the second one as a gift. I can read the one I have and then give it away."

Before I could say anything, I found myself with a copy of Michael Smith's book. Only among Christians could you experience anything like this. Jesus' words were realized right in front of my eyes: John 13:34-35 "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." NIV She cared more for an unknown human being that she would never see again than herself. What love!

I didn't know that I would be able to reciprocate her kind gesture.

"Look papa! Look what I have found!" My youngest suddenly materialized out of the crowd, bringing me a book about God's character. It looked like an outstanding book, and since it was also on sale, I decided to buy it. Then I noticed that my Canadian friend was looking over my shoulder.

"Would you like it?" I asked her.

"I sure would. Thank you," she replied.

As I handed her the book, another lady in line asked if there were any other books like this. My son, happy to be of help, ran back to the bargain table. He soon returned with the last copy and handed it to the lady.

Aren't we, as Christians, invited to love one another as Jesus loved us? What greater love is there then to die for ungrateful mankind, just in the hope of saving them from eternal doom? Daily we face choices. We can either act selfishly, or we can act as Jesus would do. What is your preferred choice?

"May I see your book?"

What will be your reply?

Rob Chaffart

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