Most discussions about tithing revolve around its uses—building temples and meetinghouses, supporting missionary work, financing the day-to-day operations of the Church, and so forth. But the first thing we need to understand about tithing is the Lord doesn’t need our money. This whole earth and countless others are His. If He wanted to, He could finance His work in some other way. He could, for instance, turn the pebbles along the road into diamonds and have the deacons collect them. He could send Church leaders fishing and have them catch fish with valuable coins in their mouths (see Matt. 17:27). Or He could simply make it so the Church’s resources never run out (see 1 Kgs. 17:8–16). He could—but He doesn’t—which means the law of tithing must have a greater purpose than merely financing the Lord’s work.
What is this greater purpose? As many of our readers explain in their answers, the law of tithing is given not so much to benefit the Church financially as to bless individual tithe payers spiritually. Tithing is about faith, not just money. The Lord is not interested in how many doorknobs or hymnbooks your 10 percent can purchase. He is interested in the condition of your heart and your willingness to do His will.
Tithing is a pivotal commandment, one on which other larger issues turn. Only those Church members who pay a full tithing can receive temple ordinances. And the Lord tells us that those who pay tithing will not be burned at His Second Coming (see D&C 64:23).
Paying tithing seems to be a spiritual measure of a person’s commitment to the Lord. This law, said President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918), tests the loyalty of Latter-day Saints: “By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping his commandments … and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 276).
With tithing, what matters is not the amount but the attitude. Tithing is part of a higher law, the law of consecration—a law we must accept and live if we would obtain an inheritance in the celestial kingdom. Consecration is a willingness to use all the Lord has blessed us with, including our very lives, to build up His kingdom here on earth. Ten percent is such a small part of what He gives us. It is, in a way, the least we can do.
By paying tithing we show our love to our Heavenly Father and build His kingdom. It does not matter how much or how little we make; if we love our Heavenly Father, we show Him our obedience.
Hägersten Ward, Stockholm Sweden South Stake
I do not earn much money, but I am happy to obey the law of tithing. The example of my parents and my own testimony make it a pleasure for me to participate in the great work of the kingdom of God on earth.
Salon Ward, Nice France Stake
No matter how little the amount of your tithing, it will be of great value in the eyes of God because you are keeping His law. Your blessings will not be smaller because of the small amount. The little that comes from many builds the whole.
Danuta Pullig Galvão,
Méier Ward, Rio de Janeiro Brazil Stake
Jesus Christ Himself gave the answer when He gave us the example of the poor widow who donated two mites (see Mark 12:41–44). The most important thing is to have a willing heart and the pure love of Christ. The Lord considers the quality and not the quantity of our gift.
Elder Álvaro Yépez,
Venezuela Barcelona Mission
When we pay our honest tithing, we receive blessings from our Heavenly Father as promised in Malachi 3:10. But this blessing may not be to receive more money. The blessings we receive may be spiritual or physical.
Serving in the Lord’s house is one of the many blessings I have received from paying an honest tithe. Our beautiful temples are blessings that come from paying tithing.
Anthony L. Ekpezu,
Calabar Second Branch, Calabar Nigeria District
The Lord asks us to honestly pay a tenth of our income, whatever amount we receive. It is a test of our faith. He doesn’t need our gifts to finance His Church, but we do need His gifts. If we pay a full tithing, we will be the happiest people on earth, the harvest of our fields will be abundant, and the work of the Lord will go forward.
Elder Armel F. Severin Ikoue,
Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission
After I finished high school I got a job that didn’t pay very much, and I was embarrassed to be paying so little tithing. One of my friends reminded me of Jesus praising the poor widow (see Luke 21:1–4). From that point on, those thoughts didn’t return to my mind. I continued to pay a full tithing. Later on I was blessed to get a better job and earn money for my mission.
Fabián Argote Montalvo,
Las Granjas Ward, Neiva Colombia Stake
We should always remember the admonition of our Savior not to lay up treasures on earth but to lay up treasures in heaven (see Matt. 6:19–21). We should not always expect more money as a blessing for paying our tithing. There are many blessings we receive from God for paying tithing. A great blessing for me is serving full time building His kingdom.
Sister Mustapha Tina,
Nigeria Enugu Mission
We don’t receive any blessings from God if we pay our tithing with a double mind. When we feel we are forced to pay our tithing or if we pay out of fear, we pay with a grudge and perhaps shouldn’t expect any blessings. Sometimes we are sincere in paying our tithing but don’t see any physical blessings. It is not that God has forgotten us, but we may have to wait. He has infinite blessings for His children who obey His commandments, but these blessings will be manifested in the Lord’s time. We should endure to the end.
Umunwanwa Branch, Umuahia Nigeria Stake
There are several reasons we should pay tithing. Let me mention three of them: (1) it is a commandment of the Lord; (2) no matter how little we pay, we will be doing our part in establishing Zion on the earth; and (3) it strengthens our testimonies.
Jean Pyeere Moreira,
Itinga Ward, Joinville Brazil Stake