I wonder whether seven-year-old Matthew really understood the significance of his actions the Saturday he chose to spend his hard-earned allowance on a Relief Society manual for his mother.
The money was a special reward for the way he had taken over and become “the man of the house” while his daddy had been sick in the hospital. We expected him to buy the usual assortment of toys that appeal to a seven-year old, but instead he had chosen to buy me a new book.
I was uncomfortable about accepting his sacrifice and subsequently shared my feelings with a friend a few days later. After all, I knew that after paying his tithing and buying the book there was very little left over for Matthew!
“I didn’t feel good about taking his money that way, Nancy,” I explained, “but I knew he’d feel good if I did. I love him for it, and I’ll give it back another way.”
Then the miracle happened!
At that precise moment, my whole concept of tithing changed. It was as though suddenly a light had switched on and, just as suddenly, I could see.
I had always paid my tithing faithfully and regularly. But, in retrospect, I had paid it in fear and trembling to an awe-inspiring God who demanded his tenth. (See D&C 64:23.) Somehow, in my confused thinking, the God to whom I timidly offered my tithes differed tremendously from the compassionate, loving Father who listened to me pour out my heart each morning and night, the Father who cared about me and wanted me to return home to him.
In that moment I knew that my Father in Heaven loved me. And, even though it was my obligation and responsibility to return to him a tenth of my increase, he still appreciated my offerings and was glad that I did it. As I stood there in my kitchen, with tears streaming down my cheeks, my words reverberated in my mind and called up the Lord’s promise: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10.)
How grateful I am for the lessons taught by a loving Heavenly Father. And how grateful I am for the thoughtful and unselfish actions of my small son.