Friday, March 22, 2013

"Tithing as a Rental" by James E. Talmage

The the book Essential James E. Talmage, there is a chapter on tithing.  In that chapter, Talmage describes tithing as a rental.

"As the matter presents itself to my mind, it is as though there had been a contract made between myself and the Lord, and that in effect He had said to me: “You have need of many things in this world—food, clothing, and shelter for your family and yourself, the common comforts of life, and the things that shall be conducive to refinement, to development, to righteous enjoyment. You desire material possessions to use for the assistance of others, and thereby gain greater blessings for yourself and yours. Now, you shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase in substance and possessions; you will have your loses, as well as your gains; you will have your periods of trouble as well as your times of peace. Some years will be plenty unto you, and others will be years of scarcity. And, now, instead of doing as mortal landlords do—require you to contract with them to pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or your prospects may be—you shall pay me not in advance, but when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then you can afford to pay me a little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then you shall pay me less; and should it be that you are reduced to the utmost penury so that you have nothing coming in, you will pay me nothing.”

Have you ever found a landlord of earth who was willing to make that kind of a contract with you? When I consider the liberality of it all, and the consideration that my Lord has had for me, I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to His Heaven above if I tried to defraud Him out of that just rental."

This passage reminds me of the King Benjamin's admonition in Mosiah 4:27, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

See also D&C 10:4