By Hugh T. Kerr

On the west coast of Africa there is a missionary station in which I have always been greatly interested. Years ago a young man from Pennsylvania (USA) went there as a missionary. His name was Adolphus C. Good. But it is not about Dr. Good that I want to tell, but about an African girl of that mission, who became a wonderful Christian.

It was Christmas Day and she had come with all the native Christians to the mission to celebrate the Lord’s birthday. They did not come to receive presents from the mission or from each other. They came to bring to Him, whose birthday it was, the best gift they had.

After the service of prayer and praise was over and they had sung about Jesus, just as we do on Christmas, the people came forward in a long procession to the front of the church, each one laying in the hands of the missionary the gifts they brought for the Savior and His work.

They were very poor, and their gifts were humble. Perhaps we would have smiled had we been there, but they were all given in great love; and their gifts were generous, for they were not offered out of abundance, but out of deep poverty. You remember Jesus said the woman who had given two tiny coins had given more than the rich, for Jesus counts not what we give but what we have left, and she had nothing left. She had given everything. (See The Bible, Mark 12:41-44.)

So these people of Africa brought their gifts: some, a handful of vegetables, others a handful of flowers or a penny. Among the Christian givers that year there was a new face. I do not know her real name, but we will call her Queen. She was a fine-looking girl of sixteen, and had been an idol worshipper. From under her old dress she brought forth a silver coin and put it in the hand of the missionary.

He was so surprised and amazed at her gift that at first he refused to take it, and told her to come to him after the service, when she could tell him privately where she had gotten such a fortune, for he was concerned that she had perhaps stolen it. To his surprise he found that in order to give Jesus an offering that would satisfy her heart, she had sold herself to a neighboring planter as a slave for the rest of her life. The price-one silver coin. And she had brought it and given it to her Lord, Who had redeemed her from a worse slavery than that into which she had sold herself.

I do not know the end of the story; I suspect the missionary bought her freedom himself. But I know that there was a great love in her heart, and I am wondering if there is a better Christian in all the world than this young woman, Queen. She was willing to give herself, because of her great love, so that through her gift others might be told the great and wonderful story of Christmas and the gift of God’s Love to the world.

For the gift of God to the world was not one of gold, nor silver, nor riches of any kind, but of Love. He gave Himself, as true love does.

What Shall I Give Him?

What shall I give Him,
As small as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I’d give Him a lamb.

If I were a wise man,
I’d do my part.
I know what I’ll give Him,
I’ll give Him my heart.

-Christina Rossetti
An African Queen, Copyright © 1998-2012, The Family International