How much courage does it take to give? All depends on how much, in what circumstances, and to whom, doesn’t it?
Pondering over the principle of charity lately, I’ve thought back over my life…The people who have influenced me, the blessings of things given to me [spiritually, temporally, emotionally], and the deeper understanding of the gift of giving:
Not just for the one receiving, but for the one who is doing the giving.
In a nutshell, love – as purely as we can create it and give it – grants us a lot of peace and joy. That Christ-like love allows us to enjoy sweet moments of heavenly goodness when we give to others… and when we are the receivers.
Many years ago, when it was just me and my oldest child, living meagerly at best, I had the registration come due for my car. I wept, having no idea how to pay the bill. How would I get to work? How would I be able to do the things necessary? I’d have to give up the car I’d worked so hard to keep and maintain. My heart was very heavy.
The next day, when I checked the mailbox, there was a letter from the government. Opening it, I found a check. In the amount – exactly – needed to pay the registration and tithing on that refund. Seems I’d somehow paid too much or not gotten back as much tax refund [It has been so long, I don’t remember details anymore], so a refund check was sent to me.
What??! Without my seeking for it, sending letters, and bugging them, the IRS sent me money just at the crucial time needed? Maybe. But my feeling was [and I’m certain it was spot on] that I paid my tithing.
The Lord knew I would be in this pickle of a circumstance. He was watching out for me, as always. The money came when I needed it. I learned a powerful lesson about paying tithing – give it first, joyfully, gratefully. What a pittance to give, on my part!
Since that time, many years ago, there have been floods of understanding about the blessing of giving. Not that I’ve always done it the right way. But I continue to better comprehend this principle of giving.
President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “You have not failed until you quit trying.” It seems this beautiful counsel also works when we say it this way:
“You have not failed until you quit giving.”
Our God is a God of giving. It is one of his perfect attributes. When we follow His example, there’s a lot of joy in emulating this attribute. It seems a simple way of grasping a portion of the scripture: 2Ne 2:27 “Men are that they might have joy.”
Those times you’ve given in secret – whether personally, or as a family activity-running up to a door with treats, then taking off so that your gift is anonymous – bring satisfaction and happiness, right?
Often the most important giving’ we share is not of our means, but of our time and our heart. It’s the most expensive, usually. And it’s the most meaningful. It also seems to be hard to give’ if we are caught up in time constraints, schedules, check lists, or self-aggrandizement.
I’m pretty good about staying in touch until something happens physically. When I go down the rabbit hole’ of health, my ability to reach out and give to another seems to diminish. I’m working on that one. Big time. Because, I wonder, how much better could I feel – how much better could I understand my Savior and my Father in Heaven were I to push past the pain and give more? When it’s really inconvenient’ or even when it seems impossible.
That quiet thought comes to mind, “With God nothing is impossible” and I shudder at how much I still have to grow in my ability to give, courageously.
The sweetest blessings come when we get past the attitude of Giving in order to get something. Or Giving in order to be blessed. Giving courageously and purely allows us to give simply because.
Because we love our Father and our Savior.
Because we wish to follow them more carefully.
Because we want to purify our heart and mind.
Because it is the best way to live.
What if giving has little to do with the size of the gift and everything to do with the amount of faith in giving?
When the widow gave her two mites – which was all she had – Jesus Christ taught powerful lessons about giving in a more divine way. [See Mark 12: 41-44]
It was FAITH which allowed this woman to give. It was courage that blessed her to step outside her own needs, discomfort, or thought of what if’, and permitted her to give it away. Then… then, blessings came to her in a whole new and better way.
If I can – if you can – give courageously, faithfully, and joyfully, our God will take care of us. He is in the business of giving. His trust in us is that we will, along our mortal path, trust HIM enough to find the joy of giving wholly, never wavering and never quitting.
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She is a song writer, author, and public speaker. Her latest venture is www.goodnessmatters.com offering an online spot to share goodness and a bit of hope in simple, real ways.
She has taught Church youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. She also writes for the website www.nauvootimes.com .
Vickey loves nature, going on drives with her hubby, cooking Southern food, laughter, brownies and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves in the bishopric.