Cheerful givers: Don and Ellen Courtney

Have you ever been the recipient of someone’s selfless and sacrificial act? It is such a humbling experience to realize another person had enough compassion, and cared enough about you, to give beyond their comfort zone. And, unlike celebrities who often give only out of their abundance, and make sure they get good press coverage, it is inspiring to witness the positive aspects of humanity without an agenda.

Don and Ellen 10001

Don and Ellen Courtney, are a prime example of a Christian couple that follows God’s Word to be cheerful givers: even with sacrificial giving. Generally speaking, sacrificial giving is giving until it hurts. But they are not gullible. Don is an ex-police chief, a graduate of the FBI academy, and a top administrator on the Warm Springs Reservation and Ellen works in the school system. Therefore, while they are willing to make sacrifices, and do so faithfully, they will only respond in accordance to God’s Word and will.

I, too, am a firm believer in God’s Word. And, while God clearly does not like puffed-up personal pride, arrogance, and self-boasting, He does want praiseworthy actions to be held-up as positive examples for living.

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger , and not thine own lips. — (Proverbs 27:2)

Don and Ellen are the first to admit their faults. Like all of us, they are not perfect. But I have known them over a dozen years, and I can easily say that they belong to a rare group of individuals who honestly strive to live daily according to their faith and beliefs.

I am in the midst of a second chance at life: a chance that was nearly cut short on more than one occasion. If not for a sacrificial act by Don and Ellen, one that I know hindered their family situation at times, I would, at the very least, be struggling: and perhaps worse. And I do not make that claim lightly.

To make a long story short, Don and Ellen gave up one of their vehicles at a time when they knew I could not afford one (because of my late wife’s medical bills and the 2009 financial melt-down that took a large chunk of my profit-sharing and retirement plans). They knew it would be a long-term situation, and that it would create additional burdens for themselves. But they never hesitated. Within a few hours after I told them about my vehicle situation and asked them for prayer, they knocked on my door and handed me the keys.

It took nearly two years before I was able to write them a check. And even then they refused the full amount I wanted to pay. And not once during that period did they ever bring up the topic to me. They believe that when God urges them to do something they simply do it and let God take care of the details in His time. It is a belief that I have repeatedly seen them adhere to, and one that I aspire to.

I will always feel blessed for God bringing them into my life. Thank you, God. And thank you, Don and Ellen. You are a living example to all who know you, and a witness to those who don’t.




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