Divine Law of the Tithe

By Louise A. Kelly

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    During the depression years in the 1930’s, we lived on a poor farm in New Jersey, with unproductive soil yielding meager crops. Strawberries were the only plants that responded adequately to our efforts, but the strawberry season is relatively short and our yearly income was so small it was hardly worth mentioning.

    I sold our strawberries in liter-size baskets in front of our house, which was on a county road. The returns for the strawberry season came to $40, the only cash we had seen for a long time. The $4 seemed a pathetically small sum to offer as tithing, and with a family of four young children, the money was desperately needed in many ways. But I was determined to pay our tithing, and did so.

    We were not aware of any immediate blessings, other than having the satisfaction of doing what is right. However, the following year the strawberry-leaf blight struck the area. All the plants in the fields literally died—all but ours. Our plants remained healthy and yielded a crop of big, juicy strawberries.

    People came from several kilometers in every direction to buy our strawberries. Our customers supposed we had a hardier species of strawberry plants and wanted to buy some of our plants for their gardens. When we told them ours were the same type they already had in their fields, they believed we must have given our strawberry patch some special attention and were skeptical when told the plants received only ordinary care. We did tell them that we had tithed our income of the previous year, but there were few Latter-day Saints in our area and most people looked doubtfully at us when we mentioned tithing.

    Blessings may not always be so strikingly apparent. Latter-day Saints may enjoy a continuity of business success or employment and good health and they may be inclined to accept their blessings without thinking much about it, but at a time when the economy was at low ebb, our blessing of a good crop was to us an irrefutable example of the blessings that come from paying tithing.