Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tithing

Doctrine & Covenants 119-120
Tithing

These are the sections you turn to when it's time to teach a lesson on tithing. And we've all had dozens, if not hundreds, of those lessons, haven't we? So, even though I'm not a great story teller, I thought I'd share a couple of personal experiences/memories about the importance of paying tithing.

As I recall, I started getting allowance when I was 3 years old. I got a whopping 30 cents! And I had three little jars - one for tithing, one for savings, and one for spending. Tithing and savings were 10% each and I got to spend the rest. So, first of all, I'm thankful that my parents taught me well right from the start and paying tithing became a habit.

Habits are good, but everyone needs to have a testimony of gospel principles as well. I can't remember a specific time when I gained that testimony, but I do remember recognizing an obvious blessing, which certainly strengthened my testimony. We had been married about a year when we had an unexpected car repair of $50. As we were trying to figure out how to pay for it, one of the options was to postpone our tithing, yet we knew that was not the correct choice, and we decided to cut corners elsewhere. Right after we paid our tithing, we received a belated wedding check for $50. What a miracle!

Several years later we became friends with an older, single sister who had just joined the church. I was amazed at her faithfulness to keep this commandment. She was living paycheck to paycheck and didn't have a lot, yet she was determined to pay her tithing. She even made arrangements with her landlord to pay her rent weekly instead of monthly so that her cash flow would work better. I could see the sacrifices she made, but they were all worth it to her. Her goal was to be temple worthy, and she accomplished it.

One last story (there really are a lot more) is really our son's story. The summer after high school he worked hard, and just before he left for college, he put together a budget. After going over it, he noticed that if he didn't pay his tithing, there would be exactly enough money to last for two semesters. If he did, he'd have to get creative and probably find a part-time job during the school year. He chose to pay his tithing. Then, just a couple of days later, he received notification of a scholarship - for the exact amount of his tithing check.

As President Hinckley was fond of saying, it doesn't take money to pay tithing, it takes faith. I know that's true. And I also know that "faith precedes the miracle" and that the Lord's blessings are predicated upon obedience to his commandments.

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