According to the calendar of weird, wacky, and unusual holidays, today is Serendipity Day.
I like the word “serendipity.” By definition, serendipity is “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”
According to multiple sources, the word was first coined by English author Horace Walpole in 1754. After reading a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, aka Sri Lanka, Walpole mentioned this in a letter to a friend explaining the journey of the princes and how they made unexpected and unplanned discoveries, which he called serendipitous moments.
As a person of faith, I often think of such moments as God’s blessings. The Bible tells us that God is the giver of good gifts (Jas. 1:17). Furthermore, Jesus affirmed that in His goodness the sun shines and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt. 5:45). Indeed “the goodness of God endured continually” (Ps. 52:1).
While God may continually provide serendipitous moments in our lives we must be alert to the opportunities He provides. As Jose Manuel Barroso opined, “What people call serendipity sometimes is just having your eyes open.” When we walk around with our heads down, either literally or figuratively, we miss the beauty of God’s world around us. We may fail to see opportunities to do good. Or miss out on people who would bless our lives.
When we open our minds and hearts to God’s purpose for our lives, good things occur. Unexpected blessings flow. Unplanned moments brighten our day. And it seems that Providence almost mysteriously provides a fortuitous result that was unseen and unintended.
Of course, as the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes observes some things in life are merely attributed to “time and chance” (Eccl. 9:11). Have you ever taken a wrong turn, that produced a memorable moment? A unique experience? Or scenic view? In our travels, we’ve enjoyed experiences that were totally unplanned and happened randomly.
Serendipity is most often experienced by those who are positive people, forward-looking and enjoying life. Too often we can allow ourselves to get bogged down in the issues, burdens, and problems of life that we fail to experience the delight, wonder, and exhilaration of life.
Want to experience a serendipitous moment? Turn off the TV. Get out of your own world. Put down your cell phone. Go outside. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Get up earlier and watch the sunrise. Climb a mountain. See the sunset. Volunteer your time. Go someplace new. Take a drive. Of course, you can’t manufacture serendipity. It must come to you. But it will if you’re living life.
Some of the best serendipitous moments in our lives have occurred when involved in ministry. Often totally unrelated to our initial purpose. But they would have never occurred without accepting an opportunity, embracing a challenge, or taking a risk. Indeed, as the Rotarian slogan goes, “He profits most, who serves best.”
I hope my musings on serendipity have generated something insightful and helpful that may spark a renewed enthusiasm in your heart.
Happy Serendipity Day!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
2 responses to “Serendipity Day”
Saul went looking for stray donkeys and unexpectedly was anointed to be a King. Quite a serendipity!
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