Joby’s Sacrifice


(Based on an actual incident.)
Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion (D&C 97:12).

Joby lay in bed, watching the morning light peek between his curtains. A new day was waiting for him to come outside and greet it. For a new day, it sure is filled up with a bunch of stuff already, he thought. There was a bed that had to be made and a dentist appointment that was sure to happen because Aunt Viola was taking him, and she never forgot anything. If that wasn’t enough, his mother was going to cook string beans for dinner. They were the worst food, Joby was sure, that Heavenly Father had put on the earth!

What the new day wouldn’t be filled with was the bubble gum card he had traded yesterday for a candy bar. He had eaten the candy bar, and it was gone, just like his card. And there wouldn’t be the hamster he had been wanting for longer than he could remember. Going to the dentist with Aunt Viola, making his bed, and having to eat string beans were trials and tribulations that would be more bearable if he had a hamster. He even knew what he’d name his hamster—Agatha—if he ever got one.

Joby climbed out of bed, making sure that he was quiet. He didn’t want to wake up Old Bear, his stuffed panda. He crossed his room to where a little tin box sat on his dresser. He picked up the box and emptied out the dimes, nickels, and pennies into his hand and counted them. They would buy Agatha as soon as he had another dollar and a half.

Joby knew that his father would have helped him get a hamster if he could, but he was a writer and work had been scarce for some time. It was all his father could do to keep a roof over their heads and pay Joby a penny for every grasshopper he carried out of the garden to the field. Dad didn’t like to hurt anything, not even bugs.

One Sunday Joby and the rest of his family, except Dad, were sick with the flu and stayed home from church. When his father came home, he had the strangest look on his face—the same kind of look that he got when he bore his testimony. Saying that he had something important to discuss with everyone, he called a family council. Joby curled up in a blanket on the couch wit his mother and sisters, Michelle and Patience, on one side, and his brothers, Matthew and Nathan, on the other.

Dad explained that the bishop had said additional funds were badly needed to finish building the Jordan River Temple, located a few miles south of them. The bishop was asking every member to give all the money that they could to the temple fund so that the Lord’s work could go forth. He had promised that every family that willingly sacrificed and gave all that they possibly could, including money saved for vacations, would be blessed twofold and would still be able to do all they had planned to do. Joby’s father concluded, “I know that the bishop is right and that what he said was true.”

Joby’s parents had worked hard to save $600 for a family trip to visit Joby’s grandparents who lived in California. Grandpa had been sick for a long time, and the whole family really wanted to visit him. It had been a long time since they had gone on a vacation together. “What should we do with the money?” Dad asked now.

Eleven-year-old Michelle said without thinking twice, “Give it to the bishop. Temple work is real important. Even more important than going on a vacation.”

Joby’s father’s eyes filled with tears. He tried to talk, but he couldn’t. Mom blew her nose and asked three-year-old Nathan to hand a tissue to his father.

“I think we should help Heavenly Father, too,” Matthew volunteered.

“Me, too,” Nathan agreed. Dad turned to Joby, who was holding Old Bear close, the same way his mother was holding his brother Nathan. Joby was quiet a long moment, then got up and left the room with Old Bear. His father looked at his mother, certain that Joby was heartbroken, maybe even angry, about giving up the trip.

A few moments later Joby returned, holding his little tin box. He took off the lid and placed the can in his father’s lap. Joby looked down at the shiny coins that had lit his dreams. Then his eyes found his father’s. He smiled and said, “I want to help Heavenly Father build his temple too.” When his father’s eyes again welled up with tears, Joby said with concern, “Don’t cry, Daddy—I want to give it.”

“I know you do,” his father said softly as he drew the small boy into his arms. “And you’ll be blessed for it. We all will.”

Shortly thereafter the bishop announced that, thanks to everyone’s contributing all he could, the temple fund needs had been met.

And his promise about those who gave from their hearts being rewarded by the Lord came true too, Joby’s father got a writing assignment—then another, and yet another. He was so busy that he had to turn the following one down. The family’s income didn’t just double, as the bishop had promised, but more than quadrupled! Joby and his family were not only able to go see their grandparents, but he and his brothers and sisters were now given a weekly allowance.

Within a few weeks, Joby and Old Bear witnessed a dream come true—they had a new roommate, Agatha the hamster! In his prayers that night, Joby thanked Heavenly Father for his hamster and for being able to help in the completion of the Jordan River Temple. When his father tucked him into bed, he told Joby that his sacrifice was one of the main reasons the family had been so blessed.

“But I only gave two dollars,” Joby said, wondering.

Joby’s father pushed a strand of hair from the boy’s eyes and gazed at him in the soft lamp light. “It’s not important how much we give, Joby—it’s how we give. You gave everything you had, money you’d been saving for something you wanted as badly as you’ve ever wanted anything. And you gave it freely, with all your heart. God judges us by our heart deeds. And your heart is as big, Joby, as the sun coming up in the morning.”

Joby didn’t seem to mind making his bed or going to the dentist much anymore. He didn’t even mind string beans. He had a hamster that made up for it. And he had a feeling of joy that nobody could ever take away. He had helped Heavenly Father build a temple! And he would try to fill every day with deeds and actions that would allow him to go to that temple one day and there continue to help his Heavenly with His work.

Note: In May 1992, Joby Goldrup went to the Jordan River Temple and there received his endowment in preparation for serving a full-time mission in the Italy Padova Mission.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Pat Hoggan