In the doctor’s waiting room two people sat near me reading magazines. The middle-aged woman looked up and said, “Can you believe this presidential campaign?” The other person looked up, as did I. “No, I can’t,” he replied. Our conversation evolved into a discussion of the needs in our city. The woman shared about a friend who was a vice principal at Baldwin Elementary, a public school lacking books for their library due to insufficient funding. We all agreed how tragic this was.
In a few minutes both were called to examining rooms and I was left wondering about this school. Where exactly was it? And why didn’t it have books?
That evening I got together with a group of friends to catch up on the week. The gathering included Lauren, a teacher in a public school. I asked her about Baldwin Elementary and shared how much books meant to me when I was in school. My mother had often taken my brother and me to the public library in my hometown and I grew to love reading. (My brother was more interested in sliding down its spiral staircase.)
Lauren explained that Baldwin Elementary was in a poor neighborhood with limited resources other than those provided by the state. She shared that she recently had the idea for a partnership between her school and Baldwin Elementary. Money would help that partnership take shape.
“How funny,” she said, “that you happen to ask me about this right now.”
Coincidence? Or was the Holy Spirit up to something?
I lifted this coincidence up to God. Was He leading me to give in some way? Was this an invitation to pray? I didn’t know how to give to help a school. I really didn’t know anything about schools at all.
I also didn’t have any recognized passion guiding me. My own talents or purpose didn’t seem to point in this direction. And something like this was not part of my giving plan.
In our giving plans, we often allocate a certain amount for the opportunities that God might present beyond what we’ve outlined. That could include relief efforts or special ministry projects requiring additional funds.
This situation helped me realize I need to hold my giving plan loosely. My plan is not necessarily His. I also need to avoid getting out in front of what God is doing. Every opportunity is not God’s will. But I’m now on alert to His speaking to me about the next step.
Sometimes God’s plans for our giving begin with other steps first. He prepares our hearts. He gets our attention. He provides opportunities to learn. He invites us to come and see. Then He may invite us to give.
What coincidences in your lives could be God’s invitation to come and see? Is God initiating a conversation about giving in a new way?
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