Lesson 16: Tithes and Offerings

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 56–59


Objective

Each young man will understand how he can contribute to the growth of the kingdom of God and receive spiritual and temporal blessings by paying tithes and offerings.

Preparation

Materials needed:

  1. 1.

    Scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    A tithing envelope and donation slip.

Note

Aaronic Priesthood holders sometimes face important decisions about what to do with their money. Instill in them the desire to give all that the Lord has asked of them. If they do, the Lord will bless them.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Story and discussion

Elder Boyd K. Packer told the following story in general conference:

“Several years ago I presided over one of our missions. Two of our missionaries were teaching a fine family, and they had expressed a desire to be baptized, and then they suddenly cooled off. The father had learned about tithing and canceled all further meetings with the missionaries.

“Two sad elders reported to the branch president, who himself was a recent convert, that he would not have this fine family in his branch.

“A few days later the branch president persuaded the elders to join him in another visit to the family.

“‘I understand,’ he told the father, ‘that you have decided not to join the Church.’

“‘That is correct,’ he answered.

“‘The elders tell me that you are disturbed about tithing.’

“‘Yes,’ said the father. ‘They had not told us about it; and when I learned of it, I said, “Now that’s too much to ask. Our church has never asked anything like that.” We think that’s just too much, and we will not join.’

“‘Did they tell you about fast offering?’ he asked.

“‘No,’ said the man. ‘What is that?’

“‘In the church we fast for two meals each month and give the value of the meals for the help of the poor.’

“‘They did not tell us that,’ the man said. …

“‘Did they explain the welfare program to you?’

“‘No,’ said the father. ‘What is that?’

“‘Well, we believe in helping one another. If someone is in need or ill or out of work or in trouble, we are organized to assist, and you would be expected to help.

“‘Did they also tell you that we have no professional clergy? All of us contribute our time, our talents, our means, and travel—all to help the work. And we’re not paid for it in money.’

“‘They didn’t tell us any of that,’ said the father.

“‘Well,’ said the branch president, ‘if you are turned away by a little thing like tithing, it is obvious you’re not ready for this Church. Perhaps you have made the right decision and you should not join.’

“As they departed, almost as an afterthought, he turned and said, ‘Have you ever wondered why people will do all of these things willingly? I have never received a bill for tithing. No one has ever called to collect it. But we pay it—and all of the rest—and count it a great privilege.

“‘If you could discover why, you would be within reach of the pearl of great price, which the Lord said the merchant man was willing to sell all that he had that he might obtain it.

“‘But,’ said the branch president, ‘It is your decision. I only hope you will pray about it.’

“A few days later the man appeared at the branch president’s home. No, he did not want to reschedule the missionaries. That would not be necessary. He wanted to schedule the baptism of his family. They had been praying, fervently praying” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, pp. 126–27; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 88).

  • What caused this family to reconsider their decision not to join the Church?

  • Someone has said it takes faith, not money, to pay tithing. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

We Should Learn to Pay Tithes and Offerings

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 119:3–4. Suggest that they mark this scripture.

  • What is tithing? (One-tenth of our “interest annually.”)

  • What are offerings? (The giving of money above and beyond tithing, such as fast offerings, as needed, to be used by the Church.)

  • What advantages do you have by starting young to pay tithes and offerings? (Paying tithes and offerings becomes a habit, and it is easier to obey the commandments.)

Story

Explain that the following story shows how President David O. McKay learned as a boy the importance of paying an honest tithe. Because they lacked money, most people during President McKay’s boyhood paid their tithing “in kind,” which means they gave produce or animals to the bishop as their tithing.

“I thank my earthly father for the lesson he gave to two boys in a hayfield at a time when tithes were paid in kind. We had driven out to the field to get the tenth load of hay, and then over to a part of the meadow where we had taken the ninth load, where there was ‘wire grass’ and ‘slough grass.’ As we started to load the hay, Father called out, ‘No, boys, drive over to the higher ground.’ There was timothy and redtop there. But one of the boys called back (and it was I), ‘No, let us take the hay as it comes!’

“‘No, David, that is the tenth load, and the best is none too good for God.’

“That is the most effective sermon on tithing I have ever heard in my life” (Cherished Experiences in the Writings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955], pp. 19–20).

Discussion

What did President McKay’s father teach him? (When we love our Father in Heaven, we want to give him our very best.)

  • How can we apply this principle to how we pay our tithing? (We should pay our tithing first and not wait and pay out of what we have left at the end of the month.)

Activity

Show the young men a donation envelope and slip. Ask a young man to explain the proper way to fill out a donation slip. Emphasize that it is important to fill out the donation slip completely and accurately and to print our name the same way every time.

Quotation

“It’s possible for everyone of us to learn how to pay our tithing, perfectly. … The one who learns how to pay his tithing perfectly is a happy man” (Harold B. Lee, Cram for Life’s Final Examination, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 5 Jan. 1954], p. 6).

Payment of an Honest Tithe Helps Support the Church

Testimony

Express your testimony about tithing and the privilege of supporting the growth and development of the Church. Tithes and offerings are used by the Church for many different purposes.

Discussion

Ask the young men to name several uses for tithing. Possible answers include the following uses:

  1. 1.

    To help spread the gospel through missionary work.

  2. 2.

    To build and maintain temples, chapels, and other buildings.

  3. 3.

    To operate Church schools, seminaries, and institutes.

  4. 4.

    To print and distribute lesson materials.

  5. 5.

    To finance family history and temple work.

It is important to help the young men understand that the Church has strict policies regarding tithing funds. Tithing is spent carefully after much prayer, planning, and thought by the General Authorities. The Church uses tithing for its growth and expansion. We all need the blessings that come from helping spread the gospel throughout the world.

The Payment of Honest Tithes and Offerings Brings Blessings

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read Malachi 3:10, and suggest that they mark this scripture.

  • What has the Lord promised to those who return a tenth of their increase to him? (He will open the windows of heaven and pour out a great blessing on them.)

Quotation

Ask the young men to listen for blessings that come from paying tithes and offerings as you read the following statement by Elder John A. Widtsoe:

“The tithe-payer establishes communion with the Lord. This is the happiest reward. Obedience to the law of tithing, as to any other law, brings a deep, inward joy, a satisfaction and understanding that can be won in no other way. Man becomes in a real sense a partner, albeit a humble one, with the Lord in the tremendous, eternal program laid out for human salvation. The principles of truth become clearer of comprehension; the living of them easier of accomplishment. A new nearness is established between man and his Maker. Prayer becomes easier. Doubt retreats; faith advances; certainty and courage buoy up the soul. The spiritual sense is sharpened; the eternal voice is heard more clearly. Man becomes more like his Father in Heaven” (in Church Section, Deseret News, 16 May 1936, p. 5).

Chalkboard summary

List on the chalkboard the following blessings mentioned by Elder Widtsoe:

Blessings of Tithe Paying

Communion with the Lord

Inward joy

Partnership with the Lord

Clearer understanding of truth

Easier prayer

Increased faith

Answers to prayers

Godlike character

Discussion

  • Why do you think paying tithes and offerings strengthens our relationship with God?

  • How can paying tithes and offerings increase our faith?

  • How have you been blessed by paying your tithing?

Quotation

Explain that Elder Matthew Cowley spoke of the great blessings that come from paying tithing and being a partner with the Lord:

“[God] is a wonderful partner, isn’t he? He is wonderful. My, how I would like to have a partner like him in life. I would like to be in business with somebody like him, have my partner come up to me and say, ‘Here, I’ll furnish all the capital to start the business. I will furnish all the blessings. Then, you look after the business. Don’t forget me. When the increase comes, you keep ninety percent, turn over to me ten percent. You use your ninety percent any way you want to, and I’ll put my ten percent right back into the business.’ My, wouldn’t that be wonderful? That’s just the kind of partner we have in this Church. We keep the ninety percent and use it anyway we wish, sometimes to our destruction. We give him the ten percent, and here stands a temple; here stands a tabernacle. He puts it all right back into the business, into his business. God will finance this Church, brothers and sisters, if you will obey the principles of the gospel” (Matthew Cowley Speaks [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], pp. 76–77).

Quotation

Ask the young men to listen to what Elder Heber J. Grant said and then to be prepared to explain it in their own words: “I bear witness—and I know that the witness I bear is true—that the men and women who have been absolutely honest with God, who have … paid their one-tenth [have received] wisdom whereby they have been able to utilize the remaining nine-tenths, and it has been of greater value to them, and they have accomplished more with it than they would if they had not been honest with the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1912, p. 30).

Give the young men the opportunity to express their feelings about this statement in their own words.

Conclusion

Testimony

Bear your testimony of the importance of paying tithing and of the blessings you have received because of tithing.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to pay a full tithing and to talk with the bishop or branch president about paying other offerings.