Tuesday, December 28, 2010

God's $15

God’s $15 - Mari's Story

Knowing that I tend to over-think and over-analyze most everything I do, I decided to act, impulsively if necessary, in putting my $5 of God’s money to work. Nevertheless, as fine opportunities presented themselves, I found myself in the midst of contingency planning during the past few weeks, over-planning my responses to each.

Shortly after being given the $5, the on-line “Give to the Max Day”celebration of GiveMN.org occurred in support of the many nonprofit organizations in Minnesota. So, I donated my usual year-end contribution plus 50% more plus an additional $5 of God’s money to one of my favorite charities. Donations given above usual contributions were matched, so that incentive, in addition to the worthy work of the organization, provided an easy basis for giving. I called this opportunity Plan A because it felt great to double the $5 for a good cause...  But there was an aspect of passivity to the giving. I was satisfied with Plan A, but decided to be watchful for a Plan B opportunity.

Plan B presented itself when a friend, who is a special education teacher, told me of her plan for some of her senior students. To help celebrate and remember their senior year, she was starting a scrapbook project with them. Supplies were needed. So, I happily donated $5 to the cause. Plan B was just as satisfying, if not more, as Plan A. Still, I decided to be watchful for a Plan C opportunity because, although I’m willing to help friends when needed, it was her idea. (I told you I tend to over-analyze most everything.)

I began to wonder if a Plan C would present itself (and how much in $5 opportunities this project was going to cost me) - when it occurred in the most unlikely of circumstances.

The buzzer rang at the outside door to my work office area on a Friday afternoon at about 5:00 pm. I’m rarely in the office at that time, but I was finishing work from an all-day board meeting and preparing work for another board meeting scheduled for the next day. Tired, weary, working by myself in the large building, and not expecting anyone, I toyed with the idea of not answering the buzzer. After some thought, I did respond and a woman identifying herself as Evangelist Bettie requested time to discuss her very important version of God’s work. Now, I really wanted to send her away – I was tired after a long week and in no mood to talk with anyone.

For some reason, I let her in. She rushed past me to place a manilla folder on the office counter, and then handed me a simply-made flyer from the folder (which contained, I noticed, a few dollar bills mixed with the flyers). She breathlessly began her spiel of how her church organization of 25 people in Brooklyn Center is collecting money for holiday fruit baskets for a growing list of people in need – more than they could handle.

I was totally puzzled by her request, because solicitors are rare at the office - especially since my office is in St. Paul (not even close to Brooklyn Center) in a nondescript office building on a secondary street... I queried her about making cold calls and going from office to office to solicit funds and found myself admonishing her about being inefficient in her fundraising efforts. (Remember, I was tired.)

She responded by saying that she gets in her car and the Lord takes her to whoever might have $5 to spare. I looked at the flyer and noticed the request for $5 for a fruit basket for a family in need. It was as if the Lord was flashing a blinking neon sign saying THIS IS YOUR PLAN C!

I explained to her about the St. Paul’s UMC project and gave her $5. Evangelist Bettie was convinced that it was the Lord’s guidance that brought her to my office. She requested my business card so I may have further contact with her. (Maybe we will talk about fundraising tips – tips which she may not need.) She seems to have a Contact who knows much more than me about who has $5 to give.


Plan D: Get a $10 refund from God or St. Paul’s.

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