In my late teens, as I started spending time with the full-time missionaries, I realized how crucial it was to have a testimony of the principles I would soon be teaching as a missionary. I decided that one of the principles I wanted to understand better was tithing.
Many people gain a testimony of tithing during times of financial hardship. But growing up, I always had more than enough. If I ever had a financial need, my parents took care of it. I was grateful for that, but while I knew that they would pay for my mission, I decided that I wanted to finance half of my mission myself through my work as a part-time teacher.
About the same time, I realized that I hadn’t paid a full 10 percent tithing from my last paycheck. I decided that with my next paycheck, I would make up the difference so that I could be a full-tithe payer.
When I was paid for the month, however, the amount was less than I had expected. The work I did was somewhat irregular, so my salary varied from month to month. I quickly realized that the paycheck would not cover my expenses and allow me to pay the balance of what I owed the Lord in tithing from my previous paycheck.
I considered my options and then thought, “I’ll just have to catch up on tithing next month.” But then I remembered an institute of religion lesson on tithing. I particularly remembered what the Lord says in the Old Testament: “Prove me now herewith” (Malachi 3:10). This was an opportunity for me to put the principle to the test and to gain a stronger testimony of what I would soon be teaching others.
When I paid my tithing, I felt good about being caught up. But the opportunity to “prove” the Lord came the very next day—much sooner and in a greater way than I could have ever expected—when I was offered a full-time job as a kindergarten teacher. I would be able to work right up until I left for my mission, and the money I would earn would be more than I needed to pay half of my mission expenses. This blessing dramatically increased my testimony of tithing. That testimony was bolstered again and again as I shared it with the people I served in the Germany Munich/Austria Mission over the next two years.
I know that the principle of tithing is true and that the Lord does “open [us] the windows of heaven” and pour out a blessing so great “that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).