A Coincidence?

A Coincidence?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

A Coincidence?

Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return.

~Luke 6:38 NIV

I was very proud of my daughter Emily. At only nine years old, she had been carefully saving her allowance money all year and trying to earn extra money by doing small jobs around the neighborhood. Emily was determined to save enough to buy a girl’s mountain bike, an item for which she’d been longing, and she’d been faithfully putting her money away since the beginning of the year.

“How’re you doing, honey?” I asked soon after Thanksgiving. I knew she had hoped to have all the money she needed by the end of the year.

“I have forty-nine dollars, Daddy,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to make it.”

“You’ve worked so hard,” I said encouragingly. “Keep it up. But you know that you can have your pick from my bicycle collection.”

“Thanks, Daddy. But your bikes are so old.”

I smiled to myself because I knew she was right. As a collector of vintage bicycles, all my girls’ bikes were 1950s models — not the kind a kid would choose today.

When the Christmas season arrived, Emily and I went comparison shopping, and she saw several less expensive bikes for which she thought she’d have to settle. As we left one store, she noticed a Salvation Army volunteer ringing his bell by a big kettle. “Can we give them something, Daddy?” she asked.

“Sorry, Em, I’m out of change,” I replied.

Emily continued to work hard all through December, and it seemed she might make her goal after all. Then suddenly one day, she came downstairs to the kitchen and made an announcement to her mother.

“Mom,” she said hesitantly, “you know all the money I’ve been saving?”

“Yes, dear,” smiled my wife, Diane.

“God told me to give it to the poor people.”

Diane knelt down to Emily’s level. “That’s a very kind thought, sweetheart. But you’ve been saving all year. Maybe you could give some of it.”

Emily shook her head vigorously. “God said all.”

When we saw she was serious, we gave her various suggestions about where she could contribute. But Emily had received specific instructions, and so one cold Sunday morning before Christmas, with little fanfare, she handed her total savings of $58 to a surprised and grateful Salvation Army volunteer.

Moved by Emily’s selflessness, I suddenly noticed that a local car dealer was collecting used bicycles to refurbish and give to poor children for Christmas. And I realized that if my nine-year-old daughter could give away all her money, I could certainly give up one bike from my collection.

As I picked up a shiny but old-fashioned kid’s bike from the line in the garage, it seemed as if a second bicycle in the line took on a glow. Should I give a second bike? No, certainly the one would be enough.

But as I got to my car, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should donate that second bike as well. And if Emily could follow heavenly instructions, I decided I could, too. I turned back and loaded the second bike into the trunk, then took off for the dealership.

When I delivered the bikes, the car dealer thanked me and said, “You’re making two kids very happy, Mr. Koper. And here are your tickets.”

“Tickets?” I asked.

“Yes. For each bike donated, we’re giving away one chance to win a brand new men’s 21-speed mountain bike from a local bike shop. So here are your tickets for two chances.”

Why wasn’t I surprised when that second ticket won the bike? “I can’t believe you won!” laughed Diane, delighted.

“I didn’t,” I said. “It’s pretty clear that Emily did.”

And why wasn’t I surprised when the bike dealer happily substituted a gorgeous new girl’s mountain bike for the man’s bike advertised?

Coincidence? Maybe. I like to think it was God’s way of rewarding a little girl for a sacrifice beyond her years — while giving her dad a lesson in charity and the power of the Lord.

~Ed Koper

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