I love shopping at thrift stores. In High School my friends and I would buy outlandish, odd, and unique t-shirts. We would purchase shirts from: family reunions, all-girl private schools, the girl scouts, and anything else that would look odd on a teenage guy. To this day, I have a favorite t-shirt (which still fits) that has a little rabbit on it and says, “I’m the baby brother.” The irony, that is lost on many, is I am the eldest child in my family (It’s ok if you don’t get it).
My favorite thrift store though is the Goodwill Outlet. A Goodwill outlet is different than a normal Goodwill. The Outlet is where all the leftovers or overstock from normal Goodwills is sent to be sold before being recycled. What makes this my favorite thrift shop is everything is dumped in large containers you must sort through. It is common to walk in and see clothing flying above people’s heads as they dig to find a single item of value in all the trash.
Another reason I like it is you also never know what might happen. On several occasions I have seen verbal shouting matches over items. Employees have also shared stories with me of customers getting into physical altercations. In these passionate searches for items of value I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ analogy for the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13.
Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV)
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Inside this parable I often overlook that someone is actively searching. I forget sometimes that at one point I searched for it as well, and there were times I didn’t find it. It can take a lot out you to search for something and come up empty handed. Maybe you’re someone who has been searching for the kingdom of God and haven’t found it yet. Don’t give up the search. My urge to you who may not have found it yet, keep looking. It may take some time and effort, but when you find it you will be thrilled you continued your search. If I can help, in anyway, point you in the right direction please let me know. There is nothing like the expression of the person who finds something of great value in the midst of trash.
Question: What is the best item you have ever found at a yard sale or second-hand store? How did you find the “kingdom of heaven”? How do you help others find it?