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It's More Blessed to Give

By Pastor Tom Anderson

Osceola McCarty was born in Mississippi in 1908. She quit school in the sixth grade to care for her aunt who had no family of her own. She took the trade of a washerwoman and did laundry until arthritis forced her to quit in 1997. Her mother taught her to save and even in the 6th grade she had a bank account. Each week she always put something aside.

Osceola never married or owned a car. She walked to and from the grocery store. She rode with friends to her church, Friendship Baptist in Hattiesburg. She considered newspapers an extravagance and never subscribed. She earned 50 cents a load each week doing laundry for the wealthier families of the town. She preferred using a washboard over an electric machine.

Overtime bank personnel began to notice a very large and accumulating balance in her account–$250,000. Osceola was in shock. “I had more than I could use in the bank," she explained. "I can't carry anything away from here with me, so I thought it was best to give it to some child to get an education."

With the help of a local lawyer Osceola drew up a plan for her estate: $25,000 to her church, $25,000 to each of her three surviving relatives and $150,000 to Southern Mississippi University for scholarships for low-income African American students. When the news broke about the scholarship fund she was given an honorary degree from the University and president Bill Clinton honored her at the White House with a Presidential Citizens Medal.

She said to reporters, “It’s true what Jesus said, it is more blessed to give than to receive. I’ve tried it.” She died in 1999.

Osceola demonstrated financial literacy for every young adult, beginning at age 11!

  1. She put herself completely under the influence of Jesus Christ.

  2. She worked hard.

  3. She disciplined her spending

  4. She saved small amounts of money regularly.

  5. She made a plan to give.

The odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 300 million. The odds of winning at a casino slot machine are 1 in 50 million. The odds of becoming the next Osceola McCarty are 100% –depending on the choice I make in my heart right now.


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