Many things in life work best with a plan: A vacation. A college education. A move to a new house. We plan so that things get done. We also plan to ensure all goes smoothly. We create a giving plan for the same reason. But just as in all of life, some giving can’t be planned in advance. It’s simply part of the adventure of generosity. God uses our generosity in miraculous ways.
A friend of mine recently had just such an experience. She had reunited with a group of high school friends, one of whom was named Marty and lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an area devastated by floods shortly after their reunion. Marty posted a request to her friends asking for even the smallest donation to help a local friend, Callie, whose business had been devastated. “Even the smallest amount will help,” she said.
My friend Linda initially thought of sending several hundred dollars, but felt prompted to give $10,000 and asked Marty to distribute to her friends in need as she thought best. It wasn’t planned, but it was Spirit-directed. Neither Marty nor Linda knew how much Callie needed to get her business up and running again. But God did. Marty soon learned it was—you guessed it—$10,000. All three women learned that God is faithful.
And Linda learned the joy of giving in a personal way. Giving is one way God invites us to join His work. A giving plan shouldn’t serve as a limit on our giving. Instead, it gives us freedom to be deliberate and discerning about where and how we give. Even then, we’ll have opportunities when God makes it clear that we are to give even when we don’t have a plan. That’s why we can allocate an amount of our annual giving to a line on our plan labeled “God’s surprises.”
God invites us to join Him in what He is doing in the world. When we respond, we show God that we have our eyes and ears open to His purpose—and that we’re ready to accept His invitation to be part of His grand plan, even if it was not part of our plan. What does your giving plan look like? As we look ahead to the new year, now is a perfect time to start thinking, praying, and planning for your giving in 2017.