By Tanise Chung-Hoon, Managing Director, Philanthropies Department
As mortals we’re prone to seek assurance and evidence (see Alma 32:26–37), perhaps even expecting a specific “return on investment” before taking any leap of faith. Yet, as we learn in the Book of Mormon, “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen” (Ether 12:6, emphasis added).
Philanthropy literally translates as “a love of mankind.” Giving often springs from a desire grounded in faith to emulate our Savior Jesus Christ and His perfect love. So how do we know if we’re making any progress in our quest to become as He is?
Giving in faith offers practical experience and a measurement for the gift of charity—“the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47)—in our own lives. Making personal sacrifices of time, talent, treasure, and testimony is a demonstration of character and the state of our hearts. When we give in an inspired manner—choosing to act within the influence of the Holy Ghost—we are blessed to experience loving and giving as Jesus would (see D&C 46:30–31).
Giving is an act of faith. To sacrifice, share, and contribute freely to help others often requires making a gift well before any outcomes—positive or negative—are known.
In a May 2020 devotional at BYU–Hawaii, Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women General President, shared:
One way I understand the phrase “the love of God” was taught to me years ago by my insightful husband. He explained that the preposition “of” in the phrase the “love of God” can mean “love from God,” “love for God,” or “love like God.” This brings richness and fulness of meaning and understanding for me. When I feel love from God, I have the strength to do all things. It propels me forward in goodness, in goals, in perspective. It heals my soul. When I feel love for God, I want to obey his commandments; as the Savior taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). And I have increased ability to sacrifice to build His kingdom and do His will. When I love like God, I act as His instrument, His force for good in someone else’s life. My love is Christlike.
In seasons of prosperity we may give freely with faith and confidence born from experience. Yet, in challenging times like this global pandemic, it takes even greater faith and commitment to partner with God to prepare the way for a promised and prophesied future that we hope for but have yet to enjoy (see Ether 12:4, 8).