In Africa I hired a mother of eight to make charcoal for my cooking. One day after she took my three dollar payment, she began arranging some of the coins in neat little piles in front of her.

She pushed one of the mounds toward me. “This ten cents is for my son’s medicine. And twenty-five cents is for my daughter’s worm treatment which I owe you. ”

I’d forgotten about it. “You don’t owe me any money. Besides, making charcoal is hard work, and I appreciate it.”

She nodded. “The Bible says we must pay all our debts.”

“You have no debts with me.” I smiled.

But she shoved another pile of forty cents to me. “And this is my gift to you. It is a special blessing for buying my charcoal and always paying the highest price for it.”

I refused to take it, so she picked up all the heaps and handed them to me. Her brilliant smile and sparkling eyes impressed me to accept her precious offering. And I couldn’t deny her the joy of giving me that present. “Thank you. I appreciate your gift and will never forget it.”

It’s humbling when someone much poorer than you presses her sacrifice into your hands. There’s profound joy in giving and receiving. As a missionary, I’ve been given gifts, but I’ve also been the giver.

And so I remember.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Thanks for joining me.

Have a great week.



About celestecharlene

I served as a medical missionary in West Africa for thirty years treating the sick and establishing health clinics in rural neglected areas.
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