The Lemonade Stand

by Andy Wood on March 9, 2009

in Exploring the Possibilities, Five LV Laws, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Turning Points

lemonade-standIt all started with an idea in the mind of a four-year-old.  Cassie certainly wasn’t the first kid to set up shop as a lemonade business.  But she’d read about it or seen it on some cartoon or something, and she was inspired.

We were living in Birmingham.  Corner lot, pretty busy street.  But that didn’t deter Miss Entrepreneur and her twin sister.  They were out to make some money, and had just been given a sure-fire way to do it.

What do you say to a born dreamer, with stars in her eyes, and a plan for making her dreams come true?

“Okay.”

You say, “Okay.”

That’s what Mamma said, and she went about helping the twins prepare for their first business venture.  There was a table to set up, a sign to make, and, of course, a pitcher of lemonade and cooler of ice to prepare.

And there were the pigtails.  I’ll never forget the pigtails.

We helped them set up and provided inventory.  Their job: sales.  Not a problem, though.  Who could resist two pigtailed cuties offering a tasty break from the heat?

Apparently everybody.  Not one person stopped.

I’ll never forget the image of those two hopeful, but disappointed girls as car after car drove right by while they baked in the Alabama heat.

What do you say to a dreamer, who has lost the stars in those blue eyes?

“I’m sorry.”

You say, “I’m sorry.”

And you let them know there’ll be a next time.

And a next time there was.  This time at Grandmother’s house.

Uh, strike two.

And the next time in Fayette, after we’d moved there.

Third time’s the… third strikeout.  Not to worry about Cassie, however.  She found a way to solve the problem.  More on that later.

On that first day, as we moved on to Next with our little pigtailed girls, I made a gut-deep, passionate vow:

As God is my witness, as long as I have breath in my lungs and my hands on the wheel, I will never pass a lemonade stand without stopping.

I think I can count two occasions where I missed it.  But there are other times when I’ve made special trips across town, made ridiculous U-turns, or gone to the ATM to get some cash.  Just to buy lemonade from an undersized dreamer.  The kids, older now, would groan.  Too bad.  Robin would sometimes remind me of the hurry we were in.  Uh huh.  Whatever.  I had promises to keep.

“Lord,” I said yesterday, more than 20 years after that first disappointment.  “Why are you bringing all that back to mind?”

I was walking the border of our 20-acre church site and praying, as I sometimes do.  In my spirit and mind, I just kept seeing the innocence, the happiness, and yes, those pigtails as they had offered their cheerful best to people who were too busy to stop.

“This,” He whispered to me.  “This is your lemonade stand.”

Huh?

“Uh, Lord, I certainly hope what we’re about has a lot more significance than a kid-sized lemonade stand.  It’s a heck of a lot more expensive.”

It was quiet. But I began to see the similarities.

Just like those four-year-olds, we are offering ourselves to anyone and everyone who passes by.

Just like them, we believe we have something to offer that will refresh and brighten the lives of all who will just take the time to receive it.

Just like them, we’re excited about things that are part of a much bigger world, but which are still mysteries to us.  For them it was the whole concept of money.  For us, it’s about mysterious eternal treasures that God offers through us and to us.

Just like them, in the larger scheme of things, our little project could be instant history.  We exist only at the pleasure of our heavenly Father.

Just like them, we are completely dependent on a wiser, richer Source for our provision, our “product,” our message, and our location.  Without His help, His strength, and His provision, we have nothing to offer, nothing to dream of.

Just like them, we’re being watched, even when we aren’t aware of it, by a tenderhearted Father.  He sees our need.  He affirms our dreams.  He celebrates our successes.  He holds us in our disappointments.  And through it all, He feels what we feel.

So if you’re thirsty, come to the Lemonade Stand at Quaker and 114th this Sunday.  Or find another one close to your traffic patterns or in your town.  But stop often.  Drink deeply.  And stick around a while.  The servers may just need a little help.

In the meantime:  Never, never, never pass by a kid-run lemonade stand.  Whatever has you so busy, unless it’s life-threatening, just isn’t that important.

I mentioned that Cassie solved the problem after Strike Three.  Here’s what she and Kate, her neighborhood friend, did.  Once they figured out that nobody was going to stop, they took a stack of Styrofoam cups and a pitcher of hot lemonade and went door-to-door.

“Wanna buy some lemonade?” they asked, smiling.

They sold out.

I’ll let you figure out those life lessons yourself.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie March 10, 2009 at 10:38 am

Not only did I sell out, I got people to provide their own ice. I’m pretty sure I also got free cookies at a couple of those houses too! I knew that I had something to offer, and I assumed that they would want to contribute – both financially (to me) and to enhance their own experience (lemonade really does taste better when it’s cold). I wonder if that should be an assumption that we make of those who attend our churches. We have something to offer – fellowship, discipleship, service, love. But contributing to the “product” – or in this case, the worship experience – by serving, interacting, and entering in wholeheartedly can only add to the experience (for lack of a better word) of worship.

Andy Wood March 10, 2009 at 10:47 am

Okay, that’s just awesome. Great insight.

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