Coins for the Lord


When I was about five or six years old, I sat at the dinner table with my large family and listened as the others discussed tithing. They told me that tithing is one-tenth of all we earn and that it is paid to the Lord by those who love Him.

After dinner I got out the small amount of money I had saved and figured what I owed the Lord as tithing. I then went to the only room in the house with a lock on the door—the bathroom—and there knelt by the bathtub. Holding the three or four coins in my upturned hand, I asked the Lord to accept them—certain that He would do so. I pleaded with the Lord for some time, but the money remained in my hand. No little boy could have felt more rejected than I did. The Lord had accepted tithing from my parents and from all of my older brothers. Why not from me? As I rose from my knees, I felt so unworthy that I could not tell anyone what had happened. Only the Lord knew.

A few days later at Primary, the teacher said she felt impressed to talk about something that was not in the lesson. I sat amazed as she then taught us how to pay tithing. But what I learned was far more important than how to pay tithing. I learned that the Lord had heard and answered my prayer, that He loved me, and that I was important to Him. In later years I came to appreciate still another lesson my Primary teacher had taught me that day—to teach as prompted by the Spirit.

So tender was the memory of that occasion that for more than thirty years I could not share it. Even today, after sixty years, I still find it difficult to tell about it without tears coming to my eyes. The pity is that a wonderful Primary teacher never knew that through her, the Lord spoke to a small boy.

[illustration] Illustrated by Nancy Crookston

Artel Ricks serves as bishop of the Pleasant Hill Second Ward, Walnut Creek California East Stake.