They could bake cakes and do laundry. They could rake leaves and fix computers. The money went to the church for youth conference. Any on-site injuries would be billed to the purchaser. I sat to the side, upping bidders and buying little.
When the auction broke for refreshments and a game, I changed seats. I scooted next to a girl who'd raised a modest fare and asked, "How did it feel to stand up there?"
"It was awful," she replied.
I could imagine:
standing in front of a group of work-weary church people;
getting evaluated on your skills/talents/trade;
receiving donated money for your service;
wondering if you're worth the cash;
wondering if you're worth the votes.
I know a guy who deals with that each week. And he doesn't even bake cookies.
There are all kinds of pressures on the preacher, both from within and without, to be all kinds of other things and to speak all kinds of other words. To speak the truth with love is to run the risk always of speaking only the truths that people love to hear you speak, and the preacher's temptation, among others, is to deal with those problems only to which there is, however complex and hard to arrive at, a solution. The pressure on the preacher is to be topical and contemporary...But he must remember the ones he is speaking to who beneath the clothes they wear are the poor, bare, forked animals who labor and are heavy laden under the burden of their own lives let along the world's tragic life. (Buechner, Telling the Truth; 34)
Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Jesus)