Ali looked glumly at her tithing jar. Every time she earned money, she divided it into a jar for tithing, a jar for savings, and a jar for spending money. She had worked hard helping a neighbor stack firewood and pull weeds, but her older sister Carrie had tended the neighbors’ dog and worked picking raspberries for a whole week during the summer. Carrie had earned more money, and her tithing jar showed it.
Today the family would be attending tithing settlement and discussing whether or not they had each paid a full tithe that year. Before church, Ali watched Carrie pour her money into a tithing envelope and fill out the slip. Ali tried not to cry when she counted out her own tithing, but tears burned the corners of her eyes. She didn’t want the Lord to be disappointed in her for paying less. Maybe she could ask her parents for a little extra money to put in her tithing envelope.
Timidly, she crept into the den where Dad was reading.
Dad looked up and motioned for Ali to come and sit on his lap. “Tell me what’s on your mind,” he said.
Ali bravely held the tears back. “Daddy, is my tithing too small?” she asked in nearly a whisper. “I earned $22.50 this year, so I only have $2.25 in tithing to give the bishop today. Carrie has way more than I do. Will Jesus or the bishop be mad at me?”
Dad smiled and looked into her eyes. “Ali, tithing is one-tenth of what we earn. Carrie did a lot of different jobs over the summer. She worked hard for what she earned, don’t you think?”
Ali remembered Carrie coming home from picking raspberries, looking tired and a little sunburned. She also remembered Carrie taking care of the Hamiltons’ dog. Ali nodded.
“You also worked really hard for your money,” Dad said. “Those pieces of firewood that you stacked were heavy and hurt your hands. You were even more tired after you weeded the garden. Isn’t that right?”
Ali easily remembered how heavy her arms had felt carrying all those huge pieces of wood, and how her hands had stung when she washed them after pulling weeds. She had worked hard.
“Ali,” Dad said, “it doesn’t matter to the Lord how much money a person earns as long as he or she works honestly for the money. Then He asks us to give back to Him just one-tenth of what we earned. It doesn’t matter if we earned a lot or a little, as long as we give 10 percent to the bishop.”
“So the bishop will be happy with both me and Carrie even though we have different amounts of tithing?” Ali asked.
“That’s right,” Dad said. “And Heavenly Father and Jesus will be pleased too.”
Ali could hardly speak because she was so happy. It all made sense. As long as she obeyed the commandments, the Lord would be happy with her. Now she could give the bishop $2.25 and feel just right about it in her heart.
Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi of the Seventy
Write down the amount of money you have, using a decimal point for the cents. Move the decimal point over one space to the left. That’s the amount you owe for tithing!
Illustration by Mark Robison