Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Journal Entry on Tithing

After I posted that story on tithing, I remembered writing in my journal some thoughts on the subject. I finally found that journal entry.

Here is what I wrote on tithing March 3, 2003:

I wanted to include a bit of my testimony about tithing in this journal this evening. Over the weekend, I was working on our budget and trying to figure out how to pay off our credit card bill. This bill had been growing since November of last year. Jill and I are convinced that we do not want this type of thing to happen again this year. So, I was working on our budget and trying to figure out how to better handle it so that we are saving a sufficient amount of money to support ourselves.

After the budget was finished, I noticed that tithing is our largest bill next to our mortgage. The little evil thought crept into my mind about what we could do with that extra $560 each month. But quickly, I reminded myself (or it was the Spirit who reminded me) that I should think of all the blessings we’ve received from paying a full and honest tithe.

Going through this little trial made me realize that I needed to re-strengthen my testimony concerning tithing. So, on Sunday morning, I looked up many verses on tithing and read several talks from General Authorities about tithing. One of the best scriptures on tithing is in Malichi 3:8-10 and 3 Nephi 24:8-10. I also found a reference to Psalms 73. In this Psalm, he talks about how the wicked prosper in the face of defying God (Psalms 73:3, 12).

Sometimes, this is how I feel about tithing. When I see a coworker buying a brand new BMW or Dodge Ram truck, I ask myself where in the world does he get the money from. Then when I see our budget, I understand that many people don’t pay tithing and they “prosper.” But, the Psalm goes on to say that those people will eventually “pay.” Perhaps they will not pay in this life, but they will pay in the next.

Of the talks I read, I particularly enjoyed the faith-promoting stories told of saints who were faced with either paying their mortgage or paying their tithing. Others were faced with either buying food or paying tithing. One particular sister had a choice to pay tithing or go buy a sack of flower to feed her orphaned children. She and her kids decided to pay tithing. So she walked a few miles to the Bishop’s storehouse and paid the tithing. When she arrived home, she found a stock of food sitting on her doorstep, including a sack of flour. A note stated that her late husband had done some work for the local grocer and that the grocer had not paid him for his labor. The groceries were a payment for her husband’s work.

Now, we are not living check to check. We have a good budget where we have money left over each month (if we stay on budget) and we are saving plenty for us and for our kids. My test is to continue to pay an honest and full tithe and to make a generous contribution to the fast offering fund. All that we have is from the Lord. We are simply stewards.

I hope I remember this and I hope that Jill and I will strive to live a good life by focusing on the things that matter rather than striving to become so wealthy that we have to build new barns (or houses) to hold all of our possessions. Just as Jesus taught in a parable, the man who lays up treasures for himself on this earth and then eats, drinks and is merry for the rest of his days, will be damned. First seek the kingdom of God, and then all things will be added to you.

I know tithing is a true and just law. I love the law of tithing. I love to pay my tithing every two weeks. I feel good after I hand that envelop to the Bishop. The Lord has blessed us abundantly. Emma and Ben have beds to sleep in, they have blankets, clothes, food, drink and lots of toys! We have a good home and our health is good too. We have been truly blessed!