As I shared in a prior post, one unique thing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that there is no paid clergy. Members are often invited to speak to the congregation and today I was invited to speak on the topic of tithing. I shared what tithing is, why I pay it, and the blessings received from tithing. Here’s the text from my talk.
What is Tithing?
To pay a full tithe, we give one-tenth, or 10%, of our income to the Lord through His Church. We submit our tithing online or to a member of the bishopric. Then tithing funds get transmitted directly to the headquarters of the Church, where a council determines specific ways to use the sacred funds. This council is comprised of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric.
These tithing funds are always used for the Lord’s purposes—to build meetinghouses and temples, to sustain missionary work, and to carry on the work of the Church throughout the world.
Blessings of Tithing
The law of tithing requires sacrifice, but our obedience to the law brings blessings that are far greater than anything we will ever give up. The prophet Malachi taught: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
These blessings come to all who pay a full ten percent of their income, even if that amount is very small. As we obey this law, the Lord will bless us both spiritually and temporally.
We Should Give Willingly
The attitude we have toward paying tithing is very important. Why is that?
Elder Stephen L. Richards said that “When one pays his tithing without enjoyment he is robbed of a part of the blessing. He must learn to give cheerfully, willingly and joyfully, and his gift will be blessed.” The Apostle Paul taught that how we give is as important as what we give. He said, “Let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s clear that we should give, and that we should give willingly.
Modern prophets have discussed the blessings of paying tithing. President Gordon B. Hinckley declared, “I am confident that there is no better discipline nor one more fruitful with blessings in the handling of our resources than obedience to the Law of Tithing. Those who live honestly with God are more likely to live honestly with one another and their associates. Further, as they budget for their tithes and offerings they will cultivate a discipline in the handling of their resources.” I’ve come to know that this is true.
My Experience with Tithing
Growing up in the church, I’ve been paying tithing for as long as I can remember. There have been times where it’s been very inconvenient. A lost job or unanticipated expense has given me pause. In these moments I’ve thought about what I could do with that extra 10%. But my wife and I have made a promise that we’d pay tithing and we’ve always chosen to pay it anyway. .
Personally, I don’t have a miraculous story from paying tithing. For me, the blessings of tithing have been more subtle. The blessings have been felt inwardly. But they’ve come nonetheless. For me, the blessings of tithing have come through knowledge that I am doing the right thing. Through feelings of peace and of stillness.
Paying tithing on a steady cadence gives me a constant reminder that everything I have comes from God and he’s asking for a small amount in return. I’ve learned that any financial gain we may acquire is fleeting and that true wealth is experienced by being on the covenant path, striving to live like the Savior did. The windows of heaven have been poured out upon me and my family. There has not been room enough to receive it.
In closing, our family pays tithing because it helps us become selfless. Our family pays tithing because it is a commandment from God. Our family pays tithing because, in doing so, we draw nearer to and become more like the Savior. I promise you that as you pay tithing, the windows of heaven will open. I promise that as you pay tithing you’ll be blessed with peace and comfort, something we all need, especially in our current environment. I promise that as you pay tithing you’ll be able to stand before God with confidence, knowing that you’re doing what your loving Heavenly Father wants you to do.