Monday, October 22, 2012

The More you Give, the More you Receive

This story by a pioneer woman named Hannah Cornaby has been on my mind a lot the last few months. In her personal history Hannah wrote:
"One morning having, as usual, attended to family prayer, in which, with greater significance than is often used, we asked, "Give us this day our daily bread," and having eaten a rather scanty breakfast--every morsel we had in the house-- Edith was wondering what we should have for dinner  and why Pa had not sent us some fish. I too was anxious, not having heard from Provo for some days; so telling my darling I would go and see if Sister Ellen Jackson (whose husband was also one of the fishing party) had heard any news, I started off. Sister Jackson had not heard from the fishery but was quite cheerful, telling me how well her garden was growing, adding that the radishes were fit for use, and insisting that I must have some. It was good to see something to eat; and quite pleased, I bade her good morning. I passed on my way to the house of Brother Charles Gray, and Sister Gray asked me where I had gotten such fine radishes. I told her and offered to divide them with her, to which she agreed, providing I would take in exchange some lettuce and cress, of which she had plenty. She filled a pan with these, and I hurried away thinking how pleased my children would be, if only we had some bread to eat with them.

As I was passing Brother Simons Baker's house, Sister Baker saw me and invited me in. I told her I had left my children and could not stay long. She then asked me where I had gotten such nice green stuff, and when I told her and offered her some, she replied, "If I could exchange some for butter, I would be glad." She then gave me a nice piece of fresh butter, which had just come from their dairy on the Jordan, and also a large slice of cheese. If I only had bread, I thought, how good these would be! Just then my eyes rested upon a large vessel full of broken bread. Sister Baker, seeing I had noticed it, told me its history. It had been sent the day before, in a sack, to the canyon where her husband had a number of men working. On the way it had fallen from the wagon and been crushed under the wheel. She did not know what to do with it, remarking that she would offer me some of it but feared I would feel insulted, although she assured me it was perfectly clean. I accepted her offer, and after filling a large pan, she sent her daughter home with me to carry it. 

The children were watching for my return, and when they saw the bread, they clapped their hands with delight. Bread, butter, cheese, radishes, lettuce and cress! What a dinner we had that day!  Elijah never enjoyed the dinner the ravens brought him more than I did that meal; nor did he more fully understand that a kind providence had furnished it."
by Hannah Cornaby, from "Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women" compiled by Leon R. Hartshorn, "What a Dinner We had that Day!", pg. 25. 

Can I tell you what impresses me the most about this story?

The fact that even though she had a house full of hungry children waiting for her, and she knew she had nothing to feed them, she offered to divide those radishes with her friend. Her neighbors had no idea she had nothing to eat (or I am sure they would not have taken her food) but she consistently offered what little she had to them... even though they had more than she did.

If she hadn't offered to share those radishes, she would never have gotten the lettuce and cress, and if she hadn't offered to share the lettuce and cress she wouldn't have gotten the butter, the cheese or the bread. I can't stop thinking about how even in her extreme poverty she gave freely, with a generous heart, and because she did that... she went home with arms overflowing with food.

Hannah Cornaby understood the beautiful lesson that I feel the Lord has been trying to teach me, over and over and over again...

That the more you give, the more you receive. 

It doesn't matter how much money, food, time, energy or health you have. It doesn't matter if you are (or feel) wealthy or poor, the principle is always the same:

When you have you give generously

and when you have not you give generously; 

don't worry about the math

 the Lord will take care of the rest. 

 Why is that such a hard lesson for me to learn?


  1. I love this. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. It's a hard lesson for me to learn because I think I know what I need, and more, what I'm entitled too. The natural woman is indeed hard to overcome.

  3. I love this. At the same time I feel really sad because my mind kept jumping to negative thoughts while reading. I kept thinking, "But her kids have no food!" and when asked where she got her other things I kept thinking, "How would those other people feel when so many others came to their house asking for food?"

    But then I thought, well they'd probably be happy to share and trade and gift to one another. Shameful how negative thinking seeps into your thoughts.

    This was a beautiful story. I love reading stories like this from pioneers. Despite their trials so many seem to have been so grateful and joyful.

  4. I love this! It reminds me of the Saviour feeding the thousands.

  5. This is truly beautiful. Sometimes it is in terms of bread, sometimes energy, sometimes that last morsel of compassion we have reserved for ourselves. Thanks for sharing this. I will too!

  6. What an incredible story.
    I have never heard that one before.
    Thank you so much for sharing that with us!!!
    ♥ ♥ ♥ it!

  7. So awesome. Thank you, friend.

  8. What a beautiful reminder. Thankyou for sharing.