Lesson 32: Tithing

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 112–14


Objective

Each young man will realize that paying tithing shows his love for the Lord and that by so doing he will be blessed and will be helping to build the kingdom of God.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Two pencils and two pieces of paper.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    A week before giving this lesson, ask the young men to discuss with their parents the blessings of paying tithing. Ask them to be prepared to share those discussions with the class.

  3. 3.

    Review the counsel about tithing on pages 34–35 of For the Strength of Youth.

Suggested Lesson Development

All Things Belong to the Lord

Group activity

Divide the young men into two groups. Tell them they have three minutes to discuss the question, “What blessings have I received from the Lord?” Give a young man in each group a pencil and piece of paper and assign him to record his group’s ideas.

After the time is completed, have each assigned young man report his group’s ideas to the class.

  • Do we have anything the Lord has not given to us? (No.)

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 104:14–15 while the others follow in their scriptures. Suggest they mark these verses.

  • According to this scripture, what belongs to the Lord? (Everything.)

  • If you were given a large business, ranch, farm, or other large gift, would you be willing to give a small part back to the giver? Why?

  • How much of the Lord’s gifts to us does he command that we return to him? (A tenth, which is a tithe.)

Discussion

Explain that tithing is an eternal law. Whenever the Lord has established his Church on the earth, he has made the law of tithing a part of it. Emphasize that obedience to the law of tithing is essential to our salvation and exaltation.

  • Why do you think the Lord always requires tithing from his Church members? (For their individual blessings and growth and for the growth of the Church.)

Blessings from Paying Tithing

Scripture and discussion

  • How does tithing benefit us?

After discussing this question, have a young man read Malachi 3:10–12. Suggest the class members mark these verses.

  • What did the Lord promise tithe payers in this scripture? (He would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on them.)

  • What blessings come to those who willingly pay an honest tithe?

Give the young men ample time to respond. You might bring out that one of the greatest benefits of paying an honest tithe is the feeling of peace and love that results. True joy comes from showing love for our Heavenly Father.

Stories

To help the young men understand the blessings tithe payers may receive, relate the following incidents.

Story One

“John Fetzer was baptized when he was a young man of college age. When he was confirmed a member of the Church, he was told he should live up to the principles of the gospel, including the payment of tithing. He was shocked to learn what tithing meant. He was working to earn money for another year at school. He had barely enough. What was he to do? He prayed and studied and finally decided to pay his tithing, even though it left him short of money to see him through that school year. He was studying to become an architect, and one day he was assigned to make a drawing. This drawing won a cash prize. Mr. Fetzer was elated. He remembered what the Lord had said about blessing those who paid their tithing. It was a testimony to him. Since that time he has always paid the Lord his tenth as soon as he receives his income and has always been abundantly blessed” (The Epic of the Latter-day Saints [Sunday School Course Nine teacher’s manual, 1971], p. 183).

  • What decision did Brother Fetzer have to make? (Whether to pay tithing or keep money for school.)

  • How was he blessed for paying tithing? (He won a cash prize that helped him complete his education and share his talents with others.)

Story Two

Explain that President Joseph F. Smith told the following story about his mother.

“I recollect most vividly a circumstance that occurred in the days of my childhood. My mother was a widow, with a large family to provide for. One spring when we opened our potato pits, she had her boys get a load of the best potatoes and she took them to the tithing office; potatoes were scarce that season. I was a little boy at the time, and drove the team. When we drove up to the steps of the tithing office, ready to unload the potatoes, one of the clerks came out and said to my mother, ‘Widow Smith, it’s a shame that you should have to pay tithing. …’ He chided my mother for paying her tithing, called her anything but wise and prudent; and said there were others who were strong and able to work that were supported from the tithing office. My mother turned upon him and said: ‘… You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold his blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to prosper, and to be able to provide for my family.’ … She prospered because she obeyed the laws of God. She had abundance to sustain her family. We never lacked as much as many others did. … That widow was entitled to the privileges of the house of God. No ordinance of the gospel could be denied her, for she was obedient to the laws of God” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], pp. 228–29).

  • How was Sister Smith blessed? (She had plenty to provide for her family even though she was a widow, and she received the blessings of the temple.)

Explain that many of the blessings we receive come daily and are more common. We probably receive many blessings that we do not notice.

Testimony sharing

Have the young men share their discussions with their families about tithing and invite any who wish to share their testimonies of blessings received through paying tithing to do so.

Quotation

Read the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith:

“By this principle (tithing) the loyalty of the people of this Church shall be put to the test. … There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful. In this respect it is as essential as faith in God, as repentance of sin, … or as the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 225).

Emphasize that the one principle we should always remember in connection with the law of tithing is that we pay tithing because we love the Lord and have faith in him, not just because we have money or need blessings.

Helping God’s Kingdom Grow

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 119:2–4.

  • According to this scripture, what is tithing to be used for? (Building temples, helping build Zion, for the work of the priesthood.)

  • How do Church leaders carry out the Lord’s purposes through tithing?

Their responses should include building and maintaining temples and other Church buildings, supporting missionary work, and providing Church education (seminaries and institutes).

Situation

Have the young men imagine that they are in a sacrament meeting, and the bishop announces that the Church no longer requires its members to pay tithing. They get excited and start to plan what they will buy with their extra money. They may even feel this is going to solve all their financial problems.

As the months go by, however, they begin to realize that the new policy has implications that they had not counted on. The population of the ward has greatly increased, and the meetinghouse is no longer adequate; furthermore, the building and the surrounding grounds are getting shabby. But there is no money to renovate and remodel.

Have them suppose that they have older brothers who have planned for years to go on a mission, but now that it is time to go, the missions are closed down. There is no money to operate mission offices or to rent or build chapels.

Have them imagine further that they have brothers or sisters who have looked forward to going to seminary, but now the seminaries are closed, as well as all institutes and Church colleges. There is no money to build and maintain the buildings or to pay the teachers.

Many of their family members would be unhappy. They could not do their family history genealogical work because the research centers would be closed, and the temples would open only occasionally.

Explain that they would not be able to find out the Church plans for correcting these problems because the General Authorities would not visit stake conferences any more. They might begin to wonder what is going to happen to this vital, growing Church that is the kingdom of God on earth.

Discussion

  • What keeps this from actually happening? (Paying our tithing.)

  • Who is benefited when we pay our tithing? (We are. The Lord lets us decide how we are going to use nine-tenths of our increase. The other tenth we are to give to him, and he, through our Church leaders, uses it for our advantage.)

Conclusion

Testimony

Bear your testimony of the blessings that have come to you through paying your tithing.

Scripture and challenge

Have the young men reread Malachi 3:10–12.

Review the counsel about tithing on pages 34–35 of For the Strength of Youth. Challenge each young man to pay a full and honest tithing to show his love for the Lord. Emphasize that tithing is a commandment; as we faithfully obey the Lord’s commandments, he will bless us.