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Words of Abundance

Your Host, Randy Petrick
  • Writer's pictureRandy Petrick

SPONTANEOUS GIVING (THE STORIES: PART 1)

Updated: Mar 28


MIRACULOUS COINCIDENCES? NOT!

Young boy in glasses looking with wide eyes and open mouth at a laptop computer screen.

Giving is just an awesome practice and a great subject, isn't it? I believe God loves us to be givers and to participate in both planned giving and spontaneous giving.


I love to hear how God works through acts of spontaneous giving, so when I teach financial classes I encourage course participants to share their favorite giving experiences. (We all love to hear how God pulls off what the world calls "miraculous coincidences," don't we?)


[Please note: The stories shared here are all true, but I have taken the liberty of changing names and sometimes locations to protect the privacy of class participants. And I know the storytellers would rather have it that way anyway. It is GOD who deserves the glory in these stories! We are blessed to be His hands so these stories can happen.]


Randy


BEN: "A MEASLY THREE DOLLARS?"

After hearing others of his fellow students relate stories of giving significant amounts of money, Ben opened up and related that until the time of the story he was about to relate, he had honestly never developed a habit of giving spontaneously in larger amounts.


Here's Ben's story: I would almost always give some amount of money to those who asked, but it was usually just loose change or a few dollars. The day I gave $20 was unusual. And then… Well, you’ll see:

Close-up photo of hands removing a few dollars from a wallet

One day, I was walking into a grocery store to pick up a few items. On my way in, I walked past a man asking for financial help. I’m unsure why, but I told him I’d catch him on my way out of the store. In a short while, as I was leaving, I pulled out my wallet to look for a five- or ten-dollar bill I could give the man. No such luck. I had three one-dollar bills and two fifties. FIFTIES! Yikes. So, of course, I gave him the three dollars.


Ben continued: As I drove out of the store parking lot, I felt awful about the whole experience. A measly three dollars? It just didn’t seem like what God wanted me to give, “But what else can I do, God?” “GIVE HIM A FIFTY!”


Wow. That’s something I’d never done before. “Are You really sure about this, God?” [pause] “No, okay, okay. Never mind. I’ll go back and give him a fifty.”


So, I made a U-turn and drove back to the store (about a block back). On my way back, I noticed the man walking along the sidewalk away from the store. Driving past him on the opposite side, I now had to execute another U-turn to get back to him.


Finally, I pulled up beside him along the curb and rolled down my passenger window. When he walked up, I pulled a $50 bill from my wallet, handed it to him, and said, “I just didn’t feel right about only giving you $3. I want you to have this instead.” As he took the bill, I started to look to move back into traffic. But as I did, he banged on the passenger door and said, “Wait, wait! This is a MIRACLE!! I need to tell you what’s just happened…”


THE MIRACLE

“I was to meet a friend outside this store today who was going to loan me $50. But I had to take three different buses to get here, and the buses were running behind, so when I finally got here, it was too late, and my friend had already left. I was demoralized; all I knew to do was ask others for help. You’ve given me exactly what God knew I needed. Thank you so much and God bless you!”


And with that, Ben related, he somehow knew "...that God was letting me know that my days of giving small amounts were officially over. I also knew that the days of “My Wallet” were over as well. From that day forward, I made it my common practice to always travel with some $50 bills in “God’s Wallet.” I’m not the owner; He is. And if the owner of the wallet wants it stocked with $50 bills to be given away, who am I to say otherwise?


Close-up of the hands of a person counting money - including a $100 bill and a $50 bill that are in sight.

TAMMY: "BIG, BRIGHT GREEN, PLEASURE MACHINES"


[Randy: Tammy happened to be one of Ben's classmates. I'm not sure she was planning to tell her story, but she couldn't help herself after listening to Ben!]


TAMMY: Wow, that's crazy, Ben! I have a $50 story, too, but in my case, it wasn't so much the amount that was the interesting part of the story, but what happened right afterward. I give a variety of dollar amounts as I feel led to, but usually fold the currency over a few times so the recipients won't see the amounts until after I'm gone. And just so you know, $50s are definitely not my usual gift amounts either!

My story happened just recently and involved a nice-looking and well-dressed woman I guessed might have been in her early 40s. She, too, had a sign asking for help, but she was well off to the side of the road near the intersection of a freeway exit ramp and a major surface street in Los Angeles. As I turned from the freeway exit ramp onto the surface street, I thought, “A ‘young’ woman like that should never have to put herself in possible harm’s way by being out asking for money.” It made me sad; I was so sad, in fact, that a block later, I pulled a U-turn and went back to give her (yes) a folded $50 bill.


Without even knowing the amount, the woman gave me a heartfelt ‘Thank you SO much for helping me. God bless you!”

Her response was all the blessing I needed. That heartfelt comment blessed me all day. And that was nice, but here's the fun part... As I drove away from the woman, the radio DJ was changing to a new song - and what did he happen to play just at that moment? Simon and Garfunkel singing "Buy a big, bright green, pleasure machine" … and I smiled, because you know what? I think that $50 bill was one of GOD’s bright green pleasure machines!



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