The racks and tables stood nearly empty again. What a whirlwind the spring consignment sale had been!
More than 400 families had filled the building with their gently used items, then hundreds more eager shoppers had answered the call to bargain shop and be blessed.
Charity representatives would soon arrive to clear out the remaining items, generously donated by so many who had consigned.
Then I noticed the cute baby outfit still hanging in the window behind the checkout station.
It happens every sale. Someone brings in a piece or two found outside, dropped by some happy shoppers hurrying to their vehicles, excited to load their purchases.
This time, it was an infant sleeper with a cute mermaid design. I had really hoped someone would notice it missing from their stuff when they got home and come back for it – or at least call to check.
But they never do. Despite me always hanging the dropped item(s) in plain view for the remainder of the sale in hopes it will be noticed, recognized, and reunited with whoever recently purchased it, these left-behind items always end up being added to the donation piles right before the charities arrive.
As I continued packing away supplies, I kept thinking about things “left behind.”
Cellphones, credit cards, wallets, keys, reading glasses, drink containers and jackets are things often left amidst the excitement, then turned in by the finder.
Of course, people usually circle back searching for their phones, wallets or keys pretty quickly!
With Easter approaching, I couldn’t help but think of how the disciples must have felt after Jesus was crucified. Talk about left behind!
They had been so excited to follow him, listening to his teaching and learning from him. They loved him dearly. Then he was gone.
I don’t really like inserting myself into that disturbing scene, imagining what it would be like to watch Jesus be treated so cruelly, so unfairly … yet “taking it all,” as he “gave it all” … because of his love for you and me.
But this Holy Week, it’s important to ponder what went on for our sake. After all, Easter is about so much more than coloring eggs and eating ham.
As hurt and traumatized as the disciples must have felt watching Jesus endure agonizing torment then die on that cross, imagine their emotions as they realized Jesus was gone.
Sadness, fear, grief, and emptiness must have overwhelmed them as it sank in that Jesus was no longer with them … and as they realized they were left behind.
But this Easter, we can be so thankful knowing that’s not how the story ends.
We serve a risen savior! And we can be thankful Jesus didn’t leave us as orphans until we meet again. No, he sent the Holy Spirit to live with and in each one who loves him, guiding us on this earthly journey homeward to heaven.
Standing in that room full of donated items following the sale, I realized each charity representative about to arrive was nudged or guided by this same Holy Spirit to work to relocate these items, getting them to people who needed them and continuing the passing on of blessings.
Guidance counselors and social workers began arriving in search of sizes needed for specific children in their schools.
Volunteers from Life Choices Pregnancy Support Center stocked their supply to aid in their mission of supporting families in welcoming new lives.
The Isaiah 117 House, under construction in Monteagle, would gather things needed to help them serve and provide physical and emotional support in a safe and loving home for children awaiting foster-care placement.
And other ministries who tirelessly work to aid local families in need also took things to help provide support.
Each of these representatives works for and serves not only a charity, school or organization, but ultimately God.
May we realize, like them, we too are disciples. As did the original disciples long ago, we can praise God as we realize his great love for us … and that we are not left behind.
God’s ripple effect is so beautiful, as is how he lets us participate through following the Spirit’s nudges.
Through our obedience, may we help illuminate the path, inviting others to join on the journey.
Jesus prayed, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” - John 17:25-26
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19
Although so much of the Bible points to the Easter story, suggested readings to learn more include Matthew 26-28, Mark 15-16, Luke 22-24, and John 17-20. And don’t forget, you can hear the story being told this Sunday at a church near you.
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 26 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.