She gave all

giftI like her a lot, this young woman I know. She makes me laugh, she has lots of friends. But her family is in trouble. Money is tight, daddy has left, and there are several mouths to feed.

So an idea was born among friends: Let’s take care of Jenny and her family. We’ll collect clothes to share, raise funds for the holidays. No one should know who she is (Don’t worry—I’ve changed the name here, as well as some details). No one needs to know how much is needed (And believe me when I say that any donation was welcomed).

The tricky thing is, Jenny heard about the collections for this anonymous family. We run in the same circles; it was bound to happen. So one chilly night, she showed up at my door with a wallet. I’ll bet you can guess what happened next.

She pulled out a twenty-dollar bill and two quarters. “Here, Mrs. Ava,” she said very seriously. “I heard about the people who need help. I’ve gotten lots of extra hours at work lately. So put this money toward that.”

I didn’t know what to say, but truth be told, everything in me was figuring out a way to return that Andrew Jackson. “Why don’t you just give me your change?” I asked. “We have lots of donations, so two quarters would be icing on the cake.” Blank stare. So I kept going.

“Jenny, you worked hard for that twenty-dollar bill! Hold on to it. I’ll let you know if we come up short on funds.” Blank stare turned to frustrated frown.

“Mrs. Ava,” she said with conviction, “I want to give twenty dollars and fifty cents. I know what it’s like to go without. And this is the right thing to do.”

There are no words for what happened next. But since this is a blog and words are required, I’ll do my best: Jenny left without a cent in her wallet. I stood at the door with a tear-stained twenty and a couple of quarters. And I realized, through this tender young Jesus follower, the reciprocal gift of sacrifice.

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 Jesus sat near the collection box and watched as crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘This poor widow has given more than all the others. They gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, gave everything….” Mark 12:41-44

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