The Tithing Habit


Alone in Chicago, with just a few cents to my name, I really put the tithing promise to the test.

I always tell my granddaughter that tithing is the best money I ever spend.

I remember almost 60 years ago when I got into the tithing habit. I had gone to Chicago to find a job after graduation from college. I had $30 in my pocket, earned from a summer job. In Chicago I could stay with friends from college, and since the cost of living in 1941 was low, I thought I would have enough money.

The first Sunday I attended church in the Chicago area, one of the speakers was a newly returned missionary named Scott Whitaker. He talked convincingly about the importance of paying tithing and bore his testimony about the blessings of keeping that commandment. Although I had been raised in the Church, I had never paid or even thought of paying tithing. But all that changed after that sacrament meeting was over. I calculated how much money I had made during the summer, figured the tithing I owed on it, and with almost all the cash I had left, I paid off my tithing debt. I had barely enough left for bus and train fare, and I didn’t have a job yet.

When I left my family in Ames, Iowa, I was sure that I could make it on my own without asking for financial help from my parents. Now I wasn’t so confident.

Finally, down to my last few nickels, I stopped in the waiting room of Marshall Field’s department store and used a piece of complimentary stationery to write my parents a letter asking for help. I paid three cents for the stamp, and the letter would probably take three days to be delivered. Could I hold out that long?

The next day I received a call from a company that needed some temporary help. (It later turned into a full-time job.) Gleefully I called my dad to tell him, “Never mind! I don’t need any money.”

Since that time I have always had what I needed if I paid my tithing. And that is why I say to my granddaughter, “Rachel, paying tithing is the best money I ever spend. It buys me peace of mind.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Greer