Tithing: A Privilege


(Adapted from an April 1998 general conference address. See Ensign, May 1998, pages 78–79.)
I will … 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).

America was deep in the economic depression of the 1930s. I was one of several small children in our family, and my father had been unemployed for many months. Our needs were many. Though I was only a child, I felt my parents’ concern.

Each morning we knelt together as a family, and each one in turn led our prayer. One morning it was Mother’s turn. She described some of our immediate needs, and then she thanked Heavenly Father for the privilege of living the law of tithing. I immediately experienced a feeling of comfort and assurance. Living the law of the tithe was a privilege and would bring blessings. I did not doubt it, because my mother knew it.

The first time I paid tithing, the amount was five cents. With my father, I went to the office of the bishop, who solemnly accepted my five pennies and wrote out the receipt. Then he came from behind his desk and sat next to me. With his hand on my shoulder, he said, “Ronald, you have made a good beginning. If you continue as you have begun, you can be a perfect tithe payer.” The idea of being perfect at anything seemed well beyond my ability. But with those words, the bishop inspired me to strive for perfection in that one basic aspect of the gospel.

You and I are given the privilege to know and to live the law of the tithe. It is a commandment with a promise. The Lord has promised, “Bring ye all the tithes … and prove me now herewith … 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).

[photo] Photo by Matt Reier; coins courtesy of Mark G. Budd