I would like to dedicate this post to a very dear friend, Randy. We were friends over 32 years ago, and just recently reconnected. It is amazing how time flies! I remember some of the times we shared--- as if it were just yesterday.
One of the things that I remember about Randy, was his great faith and obedience. We were discussing in either a fireside or Sunday School lesson the law of Tithing. Randy volunteered the fact that paying tithing was NOT a difficult principle for him. I remember him saying that he would just place his tithing in a jar, and it was NEVER even a temptation to spend the "Lord's Money!" I was in awe of that! I did NOT have a problem paying tithing myself---in that I wanted to pay it and I was happy to do so....but, for me, I had to pay it immediately, because if I did leave it laying around, I would be tempted to use it and rationalize that I could just replace it! OR, my memory has never been super---so, if I did NOT pay it, I would sometimes actually forget it was NOT mine to spend! For me, I just knew the safest way to go, was to pay my tithing immediately and then I had a peace about having done what I needed and wanted to do.
I remember my father teaching us about his experience with tithing. FOR those who may not know what I mean when I mention the word, TITHING----it is, to those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints---one-tenth of all our increase or income. IT is left to the individual to determine just what that increase is. FOR those who are farming or who own businesses, I imagine it is a far more difficult matter to determine. Since I have always been employed, either as a babysitter in my earliest teens, to a nurse now, I have always rounded up to the nearest dollar---- the "gross pay" which was on my pay stub.
Anyway, my father served a mission to Leeds, England in the 1950's. His father and mother were not actively attending church and so, did NOT pay tithing; among other things. (my grandfather served in the Navy, and had tattoo's, smoked like a chimney and drank like the sailor he was! In our church, we do not drink alcohol, coffee, tea or use tobacco. My father's parents did many of the things we were taught to avoid like the plague.) IT has been a great blessing to me that my parents, both of which came from families that were not actively living the gospel principles, chose to become stalwarts in living our religion. My deep gratitude for their choice is ETERNAL! But, back to the story.....my father knew that his father was NOT paying tithing. He decided, therefore, to pay tithing on the money that his father sent to him to support him while he was on his mission. I do not remember if my father told Grandpa about this, my guess is that he did NOT disclose it. I am guessing that had my father told grandpa he was paying tithing on the money he sent to my father, that Grandpa would have either sent much less or none at all! Well, my father told us that he did NOT keep track of how much money he had from day to day or even month to month! (that is so very hard to imagine, since my father---all through my childhood to the present---has had my mother record EVERY SINGLE PENNY that is received, spent etc!) But, my father's great faith and obedience to the law of tithing was well rewarded. He said he NEVER went without. He even had people approach him for money, as he was at one point, the branch president, and he would give freely of his resources. He said, when there was a need, he would just go to the chest where he kept the money, and would take whatever was needed at any given time, and there was ALWAYS sufficient for his needs.
Then came the end of his mission. He had less than a month left, and he was confident that he would not need any more support money from his parents, so, he told them not to send the last month's funds. Unfortunately, he had NOT checked his chest and when he had just over two weeks left, he discovered that the chest was EMPTY! He nearly gave in to panic, but, decided that he could economize. There were things he had planned to do as he left England, (some sightseeing and such--which is NOT an option for today's missionary---but was totally acceptable back then) which he just decided he would have to fore go. With emotion, I recall my father telling us that just as he was sure he would have to fore go those plans, and he was trying to figure out how to pay for his fare home, a check came in the mail from his father. The check that my father had told his father NOT to send! He was able to pay his tithing, fulfill all his plans and make it safely home.
It is my witness that he was blessed for paying tithing. I have NOT had to live on my father's testimony alone. I, too, have been richly rewarded as I have paid my tithing faithfully for all the years that I have earned any income.
I recall a time during the first very lean years of my marriage. We had paid our tithing, but, had no money left for food. I had made a commitment to visit the young women that were my responsibility as the young woman's president. We had just filled the tank, so we had the gas to do so, yet, I wondered if we dared to go, with absolutely no money left. But, in faith, my husband and I set out to fulfill my commitment. At this time, we did not have any children yet. I cannot remember how many of the youth we visited, but, I do recall that we left the farthest location for last. I remember visiting with the young lady; Linda, and I was so grateful that we had chosen to see her, it was such a sweet visit with her and her mother. As we started to leave, Sister Dixon called me back and said that she had something for me. I was surprised, I could not imagine what she could possibly have for me. Tears welled up in my eyes, as she presented me with two-- full to the brim, bags of fresh vegetables, fruits and food from their farm. There was NO doubt in my mind that God was the one who had inspired that good woman to share with us their food, so that we did not go hungry that week.
It was a shock to me when I discovered that my husband was NOT paying our tithing once we had relocated to Minnesota. After all the times that we had been so richly blessed by paying our tithes, I just could NOT believe that this was now a commandment that he would not keep. IT is my belief that his disobedience to this principle made it easier for him to then give up observing other gospel principles, and that led DIRECTLY to the demise of our family. I pray that my children will be far more wise and obedient!
During our divorce, while I was living in an apartment, I remember Christopher handing me a "budget" that his father had devised, proving that I could make ends meet with the extremely limited funds. I took one look at the budget and noticed immediately the LACK of TITHING listed. I pointed that out to Christopher and he replied, "Yes, I know, Dad said that you cannot now afford to pay tithing!" I told Christopher, "HONEY, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO NOT PAY OUR TITHING!" And, so it is...
It is my witness and sincere testimony that tithing IS a principle with a promise. I know without a doubt that if I do pay an honest tithe, then I never need fear. OUR needs will be met. I rarely know HOW those needs will be met, but, I KNOW that they will. I have had miracles occur far too often to deny. IT is to me a perfect knowledge that GOD will provide when we show we have the faith to PAY HIM FIRST! Someone said that we do not pay tithing with money, we pay it with faith! That is so true!
I cannot even begin to list all of the times that Heavenly Father has provided for me and my children. I remember when we first moved to Utah. I did NOT have a job yet, and the support payments were not coming in with any kind of regularity. I remember crying in my heart, wondering how I was going to find the money to feed all my 10 children. I just had NO MONEY! I do not even know now why, but, one of my children brought to me a box of books that we had not yet unpacked. I began to unpack the box and as I lifted a book out of the box, money just fell into my lap from inside the book! It was not just a few dollars----it was over $100! I do not know how that money got into that book, I do NOT know why at the very moment of my greatest need, a child of mine was prompted to bring to me that box where that money was. I cannot explain away that miracle. I can not explain any of the miracles. I can only testify that there IS A GOD in the HEAVENS! AND, OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD! HE will provide. HE DOES KEEP HIS PROMISES TO THOSE WHO, in faith, follow HIM. I am so very grateful for HIS constant DIVINE INTERVENTIONS in my life and those of my children. I am humbled that HE DOES HEAR AND ANSWER my petitions. And, though my 10 percent is often just a pittance! I am so very grateful that HE does allow me the privilege to give back to HIM, even though it is so small an amount! I am so very happy and pleased that I can show in this small way, my constant gratitude for HIS constant care.