Joy + Sacrifice

January 18, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you this story from my time in Kenya about a Kenyan widow who gave out of her poverty to help her church.  Recently, I was told another story that carried the same sacrifice, the same conviction, and the same incredible example of someone truly living out Jesus’ challenges and teachings in real life!  This one comes from America, though.  I know – sometimes you might think that people like me who lived outside the American bubble think that nothing good happens in the US, but that’s not true!  Many of you here in the States are making incredible sacrifices and living out the calling Christ has put on your heart, and I’m sure your stories could fit here just as well…

This story, though, is of a woman named Jean in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Jean is a mother and a grandmother, with one daughter and one granddaughter.  Her life has been full of challenges in recent years.  The recession has hit her husband’s work in commercial construction hard and left them with a house they cannot sell or repair.  Jean’s granddaughter, Angel, has a failing liver and is waiting for a transplant, but time keeps passing by with no sign of help.  This summer her own health began to fail, and she found herself facing a serious heart condition and infection.

During all of this, Jean was working at a store in Louisiana, The Purple Cow, that sells gently-used merchandise in order to support a local ministry, the Christian Outreach Center.  In addition to helping the community through outreach and supporting individuals like Jean with employment opportunities, the owners of The Purple Cow learned about CARE for AIDS and built a display in the store to tell people about our work and encourage them to get involved.  Despite her difficult circumstances, Jean felt God calling her to respond, and she made a commitment to save some money every month to give to CARE for AIDS.

A Display board about CFA in The Purple Cow

A Display board about CFA in The Purple Cow

Before Jean left for medical leave this past year, she came to the owners of The Purple Cow with a wide smile on her face.  She had kept her private promise to the Lord and saved a few dollars every month for a year, and now she was able to give a handful of bills to help people suffering from HIV on the opposite side of the world in Kenya!  Though the amount she gave might seem small to many people reading this, it was incredibly significant.  She truly gave not from her excess, but from a place of sacrifice.  And she gave with joy!

Jean is still recovering physically, but she is doing better and hoping to come back to work at The Purple Cow soon.  May her story be an inspiration to all of us, and an example of Jesus’ words in Luke:

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the others.”

The Purple Cow in Baton Rouge

The Purple Cow in Baton Rouge

Read the story of the Kenyan widow here:

Learn more about The Purple Cow here:

Did this make you think?  Bring any of your stories to mind?  Do you have someone who reflects this kind of sacrifice in their life?  Share with us!  Anyone can leave a comment below, and we will respond…