I am currently immersed in the surreal week-long event that is known to the outside world as the International Home Furnishings Market. To those of us on the inside, it’s known as the seventh circle of hell. Well, not really. Maybe just the sixth. It is a week of my life that is totally consumed with one thing: selling furniture. And it is tough.
Why? To some, it wouldn’t seem like it’s a big deal. You stand around all day waiting for clients, then you try to sell them your widgets, then you stand around and wait some more. That’s the easy part. The hard parts are tougher to see.
For one, it’s spiritually deadening. For one solid week, everyone around you is consumed with material things. Not that that’s any different from the rest of the year, really, but there is just no escaping it. If you’re not focusing on selling, then you’re focusing on buying. And everything we sell is with the idea that it’s better that what you currently have, so you need to throw that away and buy our new one. Jesus said “You can’t serve both God and mammon (money).” This week, there is no doubt which one is being served.
Two, for myself, it’s a huge source of temptation that I have to fight all week. There are many women in the business who are not shy about showing off their…errrr…how do I say this politely? God-given (or not) beauty? As someone who struggled/struggles with lust, this presents problems. I find that I must constantly turn my mind to “whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is of good repute” (see Philippians 4). In normal life, I can get away from these type of situations with relative ease. In the lockdown that is furniture market, I’m stuck with the situation until the situation leaves the space. This creates a spiritual tension in my heart that just wears on me. I’d rather not have to deal with it.
Three, I am continually aware that this world is not my home. Now, that’s not really a bad thing, but it just magnifies the dichotomy between what is eternal and what is passing away. When you have to focus on such temporal pursuits for a prolonged period of time, with nothing in between except dinner and sleep, it also takes a toll. I try to stay in the Word, but find that I’m so tired, I fall asleep as I’m reading.
I try to make the best of market. I enjoy hanging out with my brother and brother-in-law, which is something we don’t get to do often enough. I also try to be aware of opportunites to share Jesus. Sadly, I think I shy away from some opportunites. Pray that I would be strong in Christ and not be afraid of speaking out boldy about what He has done for me.
I will say this: having my wife and baby girl up here with me makes market WAY better than it used to be. If I couldn’t come home to them each night, it might just be too unbearable.
Only 6 more days. Praise the Lord.