Since our apartment in Orlando provided quite a bit of furniture, when we moved to Texas, we needed to get a master bed, a toddler bed, and seating for two living areas. My parents generously provided the beds for us, and we planned to buy living room furniture with the money we earned from our garage sale. I really wanted a couch at IKEA, and our hope was to earn enough to buy that couch and some used pieces from craigslist. However, our garage sale cash totaled only enough to buy the IKEA couch and nothing else. A little down-hearted, we resolved to look for all our furniture at bargain places.
After being stood-up from some Craig’s List folks, we decided to shop some Estate Sales one weekend when the girls were at my parents’ house.
The third sale we happened upon that morning turned out to be the home of Dr. David McKinley, the associate teaching pastor at our church! We had never met him, but had just seen him from afar and on the big screen. It was even a few moments into conversation before we recognized him under his baseball hat!
After we got to talking, he offered to give us his living room furniture—a couch, chair and ottoman-- that he had for sale.
He then said, “If you see anything that you need, or that you want, just take it. Pictures? Lamps? Want any of those?”
We smiled and half-chuckled while we said, “Thanks, but we’re not going to clear out your garage sale.”
Then he shook his head and said, “No, seriously. Let me be honest with you. I really dislike doing these things—haggling prices, handling money… I prayed this morning, ‘Lord, if there is someone out there with a need, then please show them to me so I can just give this stuff away.’ So really, if you see ANYTHING that you’d like, please feel free.”
He gave us some paintings to match the couch and he also loaded up his 7-foot Christmas tree (something I was telling Karl about just a few days before, “I really hope to find a big Christmas tree at a garage sale, since ours is small and we put it on the table top.”) On his own initiative, he went back into his house and presented us with a Christmas tree skirt and a signed copy of his book—a study on Ecclesiastes. I was thrilled because not only is he a gifted teacher, but I had recently put a study on Ecclesiastes on my Christmas wish-list. I told him that, and he jokingly said, “You’re kidding?! Any other need of yours that we can meet today?”
A few weeks later, he announced that he was in fact moving because he had accepted the role of senior pastor at a church in Georgia. I’m sure that the entire congregation joins us in mixed emotions of wishing him well and of anticipating our loss as a church body.We sent him and his family this picture of us in a thank you note, and were able to share with them the rest of our story of God’s provision—how the night before his sale, we had prayed, “Lord, please help us find some cheap furniture tomorrow.” And how later that weekend, we were able to go to Ikea and purchase the couch that I had been wanting. The picture with the white couch is the one from Ikea, and the two green chairs are another garage sale bargain-- 2 for $20! We were walking on air to see how God provided our whole house with furniture!