The true value of giving

Friday 12 March 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


As we continue in our mortal journey here on earth, and especially during these trying and challenging times, let us all look for opportunities to give a little of ourselves, writes John Mateara of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

God is the source of all good gifts, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17) and that He gives these gifts to us that we may be a source of blessing to someone else.

He wants for us to enjoy what He gives us, but not all of it is for us to keep for ourselves.

God actually wants us to acknowledge that all we have is because of His goodness. He asks us to give of ourselves to bless the lives of others, just as Jesus gave His whole life for us all.

To illustrate of how we can be a source of blessing as we give to someone else, here is a story from the life of Academy Award winning Hollywood star Katharine Hepburn:

“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.

Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.

There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly chattering about the clowns, animals, and all the performances they would be seeing. By their excitement one knew they had never been to a circus before. It would be a highlight for them.

The father was at the head of the pack with mother holding his hand and he was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.

The ticket lady asked the man, “How many tickets?”

He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.”

The ticket lady stated the price.

Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn around and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this…fell out of your pocket.”

The father understood what was going on and certainly appreciated the help in a desperate and embarrassing situation.

The man looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”  (Proverbs 3:27)

My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.

Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.

That day I learned the value of giving.”

Katharine Hepburn’s dad sacrificed ‘circus time’ with his daughter so that the excited family was not disappointed.

His generosity reminds me of a quote by a great giver to humanity Mahatma Gandhi when he said, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Just imagine the joy in the heart of the father when Katharine’s dad offered a ‘lifeline’ if you like, in what could have been a very sad and heart-breaking situation.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19)

As we continue in our mortal journey here on earth, and especially during these trying and challenging times, let us all look for opportunities to give a little of ourselves.

We can give of our time, our talents, our skills and everything that the Lord has blessed us with to help build and strengthen others and lift them up from their difficulties to help bless their lives and to ease their burdens.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Finally, I give gratitude to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob even Jesus Christ, for the unselfish giving of His perfect life for my imperfect life. His atonement and sacrifice in Gethsemane and His death upon the cross that He carried to Calvary for my wickedness and sin. I rejoice and marvel at His powerful resurrection from the tomb and the witnesses that saw and touched His wounds in His hands and feet.

He suffered it for you, He suffered it for me, for everyone that was, that is, and that is yet to come. He gave His life, so that we all might live.