“Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver”

 “LORD, THOU LOVEST THE CHEERFUL GIVER”

“…For God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

    INTRO.:  A hymn which emphasizes the fact that God loves a cheerful giver is “Lord, “Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver.”  The text was written by Robert Murray, who was born on Dec.  25, 1832, at Earltown, near Truro in Cornwall, England.  After his family emigrated to Canada, he attended the Free College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and became a Presbyterian minister. Serving as editor of the Presbyterian Witness for over 50 years, he produced a number of hymns, some of which appeared anonymously in that periodical.  This one dates to 1898.  A couple of other hymns by Murray, who died on Dec. 10, 1910, at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, Canada, are “From Ocean unto Ocean” and “Sow the Seed Beside All Waters.”

     Most books which have “Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver” use a tune (Beecher or Zundel) composed in 1870 by John Zundel and published in his Christian Heart Songs with Charles Wesley’s “Love Divine.”  It may be that Murray penned his hymn to fit this tune.  Some books suggest as an alternate a tune (Blaenwern) composed in 1905 by William P. Rowlands which many books use with the 1912 arrangement of Psalm 92 that begins, “It Is Good to Sing Thy Praises.”  Another tune (Beach Spring) that can be used with “Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver” is a melody which is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin White, who was born on Sept. 20, 1800, near Spartanburg, S, and began his musical career early in life by playing the fife in the War of 1812.

     Later, White collaborated with his wife’s brother-in-law, William Walker, in collect­ing folk tunes and camp meeting melodies.  However, when Walker published The Southern Harmony in 1835, he gave no credit to White, creating a lifelong rift between the two.  Thus, in 1844, White published his own book, The Sacred Harp, which included this tune, although I do not know to which hymn it was set.  Like Walker’s volume, The Sacred Harp used the shaped note music notation system.  Through the years, White worked as a newspaper editor in Harris County, GA, in the 1840’s, and taught music at the Hamilton Female Institute there. In 1865, he was elected mayor of Hamilton, GA, and on Dec. 5, 1879, died at Atlanta, Georgia, of injuries received in a fall.

     I am not aware of any hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century or currently which contain “Lord, Thou Lovest a Cheerful Giver.”  The Beach Spring tune by White has been used with many other hymns, including “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” written in 1759 by Joseph Hart; “Come, All Christians, Be Committed” written in 1963 by Eva B. Lloyd, which has appeared in a few of our newer books; “Prayer for Creation” written in 2000 by Cathy Yost; “God, Whose Love Is Always Stronger” written in 2003 by Carolyn W. Gillette; and “Listen, Sisters! Listen, Brothers!” written in 2008 also by Carolyn W. Gillette. 

     “Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver” reminds us of the importance of giving to the Lord.

I. Stanza 1 explains that we should give openly and freely

“Lord, Thou lovest the cheerful giver,

Who with open heart and hand

Blesses freely, as a river

That refreshes all the land.

Grant us then the grace of giving

With a spirit large and free,

That our life and all our living

We may consecrate to Thee.”

 A. There are many ways to give, but one way that the Lord specifies for Christians to give is laying by in store on the first day of the week: 1 Cor. 16:2

 B. Christians should give with open heart and hand or freely as did the Israelites in building the tabernacle: Exo. 35:4-7

 C. Giving is a grace because it is better to give than to receive: Acts 20:35

II. Stanza 1 explains that we should give because God has saved us

“We are Thine, Thy mercy sought us,

Found us in death’s dreadful way,

To the fold in safety brought us,

Nevermore from Thee to stray.

Thine own life Thou freely gavest

As an offering on the cross

For each sinner whom Thou savest

From eternal shame and loss.”

 A. Christians belong to the Lord because He bought them with a price: 1 Cor. 6:20

 B. The price was the giving of His own life as an offering on the cross: Tit. 2:14

 C. The result is that though we are sinners, we can be saved from eternal loss: Rom. 5:9

III. Stanza 3 explains that we should give in order to further the work of the church

“Blest by Thee with gifts and graces,

May we heed Thy church’s call:

Gladly in all times and places

Give to Thee Who givest all.

Thou hast bought us, and no longer

Can we claim to be our own;

Ever free and ever stronger,

We shall serve Thee, Lord, alone.”

 A. The church’s call is to preach the gospel to the whole world: Mk. 16:15

 B. God has given gifts to the church to enable it to accomplish this purpose: Eph. 4:7-12

 C. Thus, when we use these gifts as God intended, we are serving Him and Him alone: Heb. 12:28

IV. Stanza 4 explains that we should give as citizens of God’s kingdom

“Savior, Thou hast freely given

All the blessings we enjoy.

Earthly store and bread of heaven,

Love and peace without alloy;

Humbly now we bow before Thee,

And our all to Thee resign;

For the kingdom, power and glory,

Are, O Lord, forever Thine.”

 A. God has blessed mankind with earthly store of rain and fruitful seasons: Acts 14:17

 B. But in Christ he has provided the bread of heaven for the citizens of His kingdom: Jn. 6:35

 C. Therefore, as His people, we should realize that to Him belong the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever: Matt. 6:13

     CONCL.:  We don’t have many hymns related specifically to the subject of giving (“We Give Thee but Thine Own” by William W. How is one), perhaps because it is such a “touchy” topic with a lot of churchgoers.  However, in years gone by, it was a custom in many churches to sing a hymn about giving just before the offering during a worship service even as it has been a custom to sing a hymn about the death of Christ before the Lord’s supper.  It is good to remember why it is important for us to give as we say to God, “Lord, Thou Lovest a Cheerful Giver.”

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2 thoughts on ““Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver”

  1. Pingback: Hymn Studies – “Lord, Thou Lovest the Cheerful Giver” | FIND BEST EDUCATION INFORMATION

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