Several years ago, my boys decided to set up their first lemonade stand. Stocked with cups, ice, lemonade, fresh cut lemons, and a homemade sign, we set up shop on a sweltering hot day in our front yard. They were full of high hopes and images of toys they’d be able to buy with their hard-earned money.
By the grace of God, they got a customer right away who bought two lemonades, made small talk, and asked how it was going. This boosted their spirits like tiny fireworks in their hearts. Inspired by their first sale, they marched around in circles, holding cups high in the air, and shouting, “Come get your lemonade! Only 50 cents!” Surely every car that came by would be stopping, and definitely every kid on foot, bike, or scooter. Who could resist?
But the next half hour brought no one. They were starting to feel defeated. Some passers-by didn’t even glance their way. Others saw but only smiled. “Why are they just smiling at us? Don’t they want some lemonade?” Maybe they’ll come back, I said. Keep trying. Don’t give up. The local elementary school was about to end for the day, and sure enough, plenty of customers started flooding the streets.
One boy passed by on his scooter and said politely, “No thank you.” My youngest was astounded. “What?! HE doesn’t want lemonade? He’s exercising – surely he’s thirsty.” Then my oldest had a bright idea. “I guess we have to give away action figures with our lemonade!” He raced to his room and brought out 5 or 6 superhero action figures to give out along with a drink. Surely, this would bring in the customers! But since it wasn’t advertised on their sign and no one could see action figures sitting on a table, it didn’t draw any extra customers. They were still quite hopeful, as you can see.
Another boy came by but said he didn’t have any money. My son clearly wanted to give him some lemonade anyway. He motioned forward with cup in hand and kind of said it under his breath, but the boy had walked away too fast. I imagined the conversation going on in his heart: I know what it’s like to be thirsty and not have money. I would want someone to give me something to drink. After that, he shouted the new sales pitch, “Come and get your lemonade! Only 50 cents! But if you don’t have any money, it’s free!”
Then a group of siblings came riding by on bicycles. They, too, didn’t have any money. My oldest was much quicker this time to make sure they got some anyway. Surprisingly, the kids were hesitant to take it. Free lemonade? Just because? They almost kept walking. The oldest brother had to tell his younger siblings it was okay, but then he almost didn’t take one himself. I had to urge my son to hand them their cups. They were clearly very thirsty and went away with strange looks on their faces. My son turned back to me and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, I don’t know why that was such a big deal. I just wanted them to have some lemonade.
Next came a good rush of customers – all of them paid gladly. Sometimes the boys didn’t even think to take their money – the people had to leave it on the table. They were just so happy giving out their lemonade and seeing their ‘dream’ come to fruition. They weren’t even bothered by the grumpy crossing guard who came by to tell us we should offer sugar-free lemonade next time.
The last customer of the day was a friend of ours with his two boys. They got their lemonade and my oldest wasn’t satisfied until he gave away one of his action figures. They stayed and hung out as we closed up shop and put away our stand for another day. The boys only made $10, but the lessons were priceless (and exhausting).
The responses I noted that day were wide and varied: No thank you, I’m too busy, I’m not interested, I don’t have time, I don’t deserve it, I have no money to give, maybe another day, if only it was a different flavor, if only it was sugar-free, or… absolutely, yes thank you, what a great idea, sounds perfect, it’s just what I needed!
There is a loving, faithful God who treasures you, and He is offering something that needs a response as well. Maybe He’s offering you the chance to get to know Him better. Maybe He’s offering you a chance to share your faith. Maybe He’s offering you rest, or forgiveness, or the grace you so desperately need. He’s holding out the ‘lemonade’ for the taking…what will your response be?
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8