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Learning Generosity from the Ladies in Prison!

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

This has been a long week as far as getting back mid week from vacation and then teaching three Bible study groups in two prisons this week. I haven't really had time to catch my breath and sit and reflect until this morning. As I have had some "chill time" this morning, I must admit that the Lord blessed me by His presence through the women in both prisons. As I sit reflecting this morning, my heart is so full.

In one of the groups this week, one of the women wanted to confirm our office address as she was "mailing her tithe check." Several of the women at the table asked her what a "tithe" was. She eloquently and cheerfully explained that her tithe was 10% of her state pay (the state of Ohio pays female inmates $25 a month. They can use this money at the "Commissary" to buy personal care items like deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and non-perishable food items).

One of the women then followed up with asking her "why in the world would you send your money to a place you've never been?" Her response humbled me to my core.

She said, "I want to support a place where I am going to go someday and thank them ahead of time." (The interesting point in this whole story is that she has a "15 years to life sentence." Talk about faith.)

As I sit here thinking about her response, I am reminded of Randy Alcorn's book on "The Treasure Principles." One of the quotes in his book regarding the relationship between money and our hearts is, "you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead."

Essentially, he was emphasizing the point that as Kingdom people, we invest in the Kingdom by our giving. When I think about the response of this precious sister in Christ, I am so humbled by her faith and cheerful generosity.

How many times over the years have I "given out of my surplus." But this dear sister in Christ has "given out of her poverty." What a lesson in faith and gratitude for my often miserly heart! Oh, for grace, how great a debtor!

- Emmalyn Jerome, Rachel's House Director

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