Summer means lots and lots of garage sales. We're getting ready for a garage sale at our house right now. We've been sorting through lots of the girls' old stuff -- things they have outgrown or simply don't play with have all gone into the garage sale pile.
It struck me the other day, that a garage sale is a great way to teach your kids about the idea of sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving up something of yours to help someone else. If you're planning a garage sale, don't do a sneak attack on your kids' rooms. (You know, where you go in and clean it out yourself, and then look at your kids with a blank expression when they ask what happened to some toy they haven't played with in a year.)
Sit down with your kids and choose a worthy organization to which you want to donate some or all of the proceeds of your garage sale. Then, plan a time with each child to go through their rooms and sort out what will go in the garage sale. If your kids are anything like mine, they will want to hang onto just about everything. Help them to understand that their sacrifice now will help another child. Help them to decide how to price their goods.
On the day of the garage sale, let your kids help you with the sale. You can even help them set up a lemonade stand or cookie stand to earn some extra money. Be sure to post a sign telling your garage sale patrons why you are raising money (often they will pay extra for the cookies or lemonade).
When your garage sale is over, let the kids count up the money they have earned from selling their stuff. If you are donating the money, take your kids with you to drop it off, and let them present the gift. If you have chosen to use the money to buy something for an organization, let your kids go with you to pick it out.
All through the process, remind your kids that God calls us to take care of the poor. No matter your financial situation, if you live in the United States, have a car and a TV, you are one of the wealthiest people in the world. Much of the world, lives each day on what we spend on a cup of coffee.
Use these verses when you talk to your kids about sacrifice and giving:
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 -- Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
- Luke 21:1-4 -- As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
After you have had your garage sale and donated your money or items, ask your kids how it made them feel to help others. Ask them how they think it makes God feel when they do things like that. Be sure to let your kids know how proud you are of them that they were willing to sacrifice for others.