Cheerful Givers

St. Margaret at Queensferry by William Brassey Hole (1899)

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…God loveth a cheerful giver.” 1

God loves all of us all the time. Yet when we don’t give or give grudgingly, God may not delight in us, though we be loved.

When it comes to giving cheerfully, I typically think of the person for whom I was named, St. Margaret. Margaret was Queen of Scotland, mother to eight children, and my ancestor 2. Though St. Margaret lived nearly 1000 years ago, the deeds of her life were preserved by means of her daughter, who insisted that Margaret’s confessor create a written record by which the daughter could remember the mother she had not known well.

The life the confessor captured is an epitome of the giving Christian. Margaret would feed hundreds of orphans each day of the two Lenten periods she observed each year (before Easter and before Christmas). As Margaret visited the inhabitants of her country, she would give away all that she had. And she encouraged those around her to give similarly.

In Church today, one friend described how those actions we may see as sacrifices can later be seen as investments. By cheerfully giving and serving, we create a better world, both for ourselves and for those around us.

As King David wrote, The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof…. 3 Everything we have is God’s, by that view. The only thing we have of ourselves is our free will. If we willingly, gladly, give to God and His children, then we have given the only gift we have to give.

Who are your examples, when you think of Paul’s admonition to give cheerfully?

Notes:

  1. 2 Cor. 9:7
  2. According to the genealogies others have researched,
  3. Psalm 24:1
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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

4 thoughts on “Cheerful Givers

  1. When I think of Paul’s admonition to give cheerfully, I think of Christ, who exemplified the cheerful giver, and commanded of those who follow Him: “Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.”

    For that is the context of Paul’s counsel – the commandment that we give to everybody who asks of us. If we give only to those whom we like to give, then his counsel is superfluous.

  2. It has been said that a culture is defined by several things, one of which is the individuals the culture reveres as heroes.

    One of the amazing things I’ve found in seeking out the stories of family, friends, and long-departed relatives has been the amazing tradition of giving and sacrifice so many have participated in, even when flawed.

    Another “cheerful giver” who has come to my attention was one of three married brothers who went hunting. During the trip, there was a terrible accident, where one of the brothers accidentally shot and killed another. The third Brother was the only one who came home able to deal with the tragedy, and assumed watch care for his other brothers’ families. This is a story I learned from the aged son of the brother who had been shot, who told of the many opportunities he now knew had only been possible because of the previously unsung selflessness of the third brother.

    Individuals like that third brother are my heroes.

  3. My family joined the church in 1958. My father was a builder, and had a successful business on the Gold Coast of Australia. He built houses and motels. In 1960 we emigrated to Cardston Canada, so we could be sealed and live in a mormon community. We bought a house in Cardston with a view of the Temple.
    Within a year we were in Scotland on a mission with father as a building supervisor. Most building supervisors were retired couples who went for 2 years, and there was an allowance suitable for a retired couple. Chapels were built with volunteer labor of the local members.
    My family had 4 sons, and we continued building chapels for 8 years, (by then the house was sold and the money spent) until my father was offered a paid position supervising the building in the northern half of the UK, then later was asked to return to Australia to supervise the building programme there. There was no other church offices in Aus, so the tithing for Australia also came to him, and he used it to fund the building programme. He did this for 10 years, with the help of a secretary.
    A bod came from SLC and found the church offices, operating out of a room in our house, by a builder. My father was also the bishop. He asked for suggestions for someone with mamagement qualifications. Within 5 years my father was back on the tools, building and extending chapels. And the church offices had 100 employees.
    After 8 years of this he retired, and mum and dad went on 2 family histoty missions.
    My father cheerfully gave all he had to the service of his God.

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