Tithing stories: "Prove me now herewith"
Cathrin Bantjes, "Flooded with Blessings," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 53-54
I admire people who stand up in testimony meeting and bear witness of the blessings that come from paying tithing. My husband and I have always paid our tithing, but until a few months ago we would just forget about it as soon as we'd mailed the check to our bishop.
Recently, however, I learned the importance of tithing when my husband, Victor, lost his job. My income was sufficient to buy our food but not to pay our mortgage. When Victor handed me his severance pay, I hesitated to pay tithing on it. What if Victor couldn't get another job right away? Where would we live if we couldn't keep up with our mortgage payments?
For the first time in my life, I needed confirmation that paying tithing was the right thing to do. I reviewed 3 Ne. 24:8-12: "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" (3 Ne. 24:10). Then I turned to D&C 82:10: "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."
After much prayer and soul searching, I paid the tithing on Victor's severance pay. Upon inquiring, we were happy to learn that we had six months of breathing room on our mortgage. Getting a new job, however, proved difficult. As Victor traveled the length and breadth of South Africa's Transvaal Province, he was told that he was too old, or too qualified, or too well paid, or that he had the wrong background.
Finally, a placement agency scheduled him for an interview at a large mining company. On the day of his visit, the company put Victor through a grueling series of allergy tests in addition to all the usual screening requirements. I fasted and prayed all that day long.
Two days later, he was offered the job. When we drove down to sign the employment papers, the company showed us a lovely home that was included in the compensation package.
Sometimes it is tempting to stop paying tithing when our financial circumstances worsen. But I have learned that during difficult seasons we must keep honoring our covenants and follow a righteous course. By enduring in paying our tithes, Victor and I survived adversity and were flooded with more blessings than we had ever received before. (Cathrin Bantjes, "Flooded with Blessings," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 53-54)
Thomas S. Monson
All of us can afford to pay tithing. In reality, none of us can afford not to pay tithing. The Lord will strengthen our resolve. He will open a way to comply.
May I share with you a letter I received some months ago which provides such an example? The letter begins:
"We live on the edge of a small town, and our neighbor uses our pasture for his cattle and as payment provides us with all the beef we want. Each time we get new meat, we have some of the present supply left over; and since we live in a student ward, we take meat to some students we feel might have use for some good beef.
"During the time my wife was serving in a Relief Society presidency, her secretary was a student's wife-the mother of eight children. Her husband, Jack, had recently been called as ward clerk.
"My wife had always prayed to know which students might need our help with our excess meat. When she told me she felt we should give some meat to Jack and his family, I was very concerned that we might offend them. So was she. We both were worried because they were a very independent family.
"A few days later, my wife said she still felt we should take the meat to them, and I reluctantly agreed to go along. When we delivered the meat, my wife's hands were actually shaking, and I was very nervous. The children opened the door, and when they heard why we were there, they began dancing around. The parents were reserved but pleasant. When we drove away, my wife and I both were so relieved and happy that they had accepted our gift.
"A few months later our friend Jack got up in testimony meeting and related the following. He said that all his life he had had a hard time paying tithing. With such a large family, they used all the money he made just to get by. When he became ward clerk, he saw all the other people paying tithing and felt he needed to also. He did so for a couple of months, and all was well. Then one month he had a problem. In his job, he completed work and was paid a few months later. He could see that the family was going to be far short of money. He and his wife decided to share the problem with their children. If they paid their tithing, they would run out of food on about the 20th of the month. If they didn't pay their tithing, they could buy enough food to last until the next paycheck. Jack said he wanted to buy [the] food, but the children said they wanted to pay tithing-so Jack paid the tithing, and they all prayed.
"A few days after paying their tithing, we had shown up with our package of meat for them. With the meat, added to what they had, there was no problem having enough food until the next paycheck.
"There are so many lessons here for me-for instance, always listen to my wife-but for me the most important is that the prayers of people are almost always answered by the actions of others." ("Be Thou an Example," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 44-45)
Jennifer L. Thwaites, "Walking in Newness of Life," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 49
The gospel of Jesus Christ gave me a new life. Almost immediately after my baptism wonderful things began to happen to our family. These experiences have steadily strengthened my testimony of the gospel. The first week after my baptism I realized with concern just how much money we were going to be contributing to the Church for tithing. At this time Edmund was working as a long-haul truck driver and was paid by commission, so we [page 49] never knew how much his paycheck would be. And this particular week his pay was quite meager. My youthful faith was tested as I trusted in the Lord's promise in Malachi 3:10: "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."
Knowing it was what we should do, I paid our full tithing first, then paid the bills that were due. This left us with very little money to buy a week's worth of groceries, plus formula and diapers for our baby. I thought to myself, How on earth are we going to pull this off? Edmund set out on the daunting task of doing the shopping. When he returned an hour later, he excitedly entered the house with his arms full. "You will never believe the amount of groceries I bought!" he said. He came home with twice the amount of groceries usually purchased and had spent half as much money. The Lord had poured out a blessing.
The blessings continued several weeks later when Edmund began looking for a job around our town so he wouldn't have to be away from the family so much. To our surprise and delight he found a job almost immediately, and they wanted him to start the very next week. Plus his pay was nearly double what he had been making at his previous job. (Jennifer L. Thwaites, "Walking in Newness of Life," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 49)
Lee Hill, "More Blessings Than I Could Receive," Ensign, Apr. 1999, 58-59
I gained a testimony of the law of tithing the summer before my senior year of high school. I remember finances were tight for my mother, who was a single parent trying to raise two teenage boys. To pay for school clothes and occasional entertainment that summer, I had thinned sugar beets, picked cherries, cleaned irrigation ditches, bucked hay bales, and mowed lawns. Unfortunately, this type of work usually lasted only a few days for any single employer.
It was late July, and it had been several weeks since I had been able to find work. All the potential employers I approached already had the help they needed. I became even more discouraged when I took account of my finances: $6 and some change. With fewer than four weeks of summer vacation remaining, I had yet to purchase my school clothes and, like all teenagers, I wanted to be able to do things with my friends as well.
Then I remembered I had neglected to pay tithing on the money I had received for my last job. I dug through the top drawer of my dresser and found my last pay stub: $63. A quick mental calculation told me my debt to the Lord amounted to nearly every cent I had!
I recalled my mother telling me that even though it was difficult for her to make ends meet, she always paid her tithes and offerings first. When I had asked her why, she said the Lord would always bless us if we would keep all of His commandments. Then she shared with me Malachi 3, verses 8 and 10:
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. ...
"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."
Still, I balked at giving up my last few dollars. I decided I would try to get another job, then pay tithing with the money I earned. As the week progressed, though, the prospect of finding a job became more bleak. I remembered seeing one of my mother's books, Faith Precedes the Miracle, by President Spencer W. Kimball, and realized I had made the wrong decision. I resolved to pay my debt to the Lord. I sealed up my tithing in an envelope, and when Sunday came I handed it to the bishop.
The following Wednesday I received a phone call from a friend. He had been working for a local farmer who needed an extra person that Thursday and Friday. Was I interested? I eagerly accepted the offer. Even though two days' salary probably wouldn't meet all my needs, it was a start. The next day, my friend picked me up and we set to work stacking hay. It was hot and dusty. I was concerned because I had severe hay fever and was prone to asthma attacks. To my surprise, I found I was able to work steadily through the day with strength and energy I didn't know I had. The day ended, and I went home pleased with the work I had done.
I had been home less than a half hour when I received a phone call from another friend. He asked if I would be willing to go with him to harvest wheat for his uncle. The job would begin the next Monday and continue until school started. It also paid $2 an hour-a wage unheard of in a day when most farm employees were making $1.60 an hour. I was elated at the thought of making so much money and learning to operate heavy equipment in the process. I gratefully accepted and hung up the phone, still reeling at the offer. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang again. It was the fruit farm manager for whom I had picked cherries earlier in the summer. One of his full-time employees had recommended me for the upcoming peach harvest. He offered me an hourly position at a better wage than I had earned picking fruit earlier in the season. I was dumbfounded. I expressed my gratitude to him but explained I had just accepted another job that conflicted with his offer.
The next day I went to work to finish my job stacking hay. At the end of the day, the farmer asked me to continue working for him the remainder of the summer. Again, I had to decline the offer. The windows of heaven had truly been opened for me. The blessings given to me were so great that I could not receive all of them. (Lee Hill, "More Blessings Than I Could Receive," Ensign, Apr. 1999, 59)
Afton Reid Luker, "We Paid the Lord First," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 54
When my grandfather Robert Hazen went on his mission to England, he left behind a family of eight children. Grandpa's carpentry had always provided for his growing family's needs, but without him Grandma Etta and the children had to struggle to meet their expenses.
Of the children, only Mamie-who later became my mother-and her sisters, Ivy and Edna, were old enough to go to work. Every week they brought home their scant wages and planned with Grandma how to best spend them.
One night at the kitchen table, Grandma puzzled over the budget with her three oldest daughters. The money wasn't stretching far enough! The rent was due, and they had no more flour in the house. No matter how they arranged the budget, they could barely afford to pay for food and shelter. But what about the family's obligation to the Lord?
"Girls," Grandma finally said, "after rent we have enough to either pay our tithing or buy a sack of flour. The little ones will be hungry. What should we do?"
"Pay the tithing, Ma," Mamie whispered. "The Lord will provide."
The next morning Grandma put on her shawl and walked a mile to the bishop's house to pay the family's tithing. When she returned home, she was surprised to see a big box on the front porch. It was full of groceries, including a sack of flour.
"Children, come quickly!" she called. As Grandma peered into the box, she noticed a note tucked inside. The children gathered around as Grandma read aloud.
"Sister Hazen," the note began, "during the night I remembered that Robert did some carpentry for me before he went to England. I never paid him for that work." Grandma's voice faltered as she continued, "Perhaps groceries would help more than money." The note was signed by a friend who owned a grocery store across town.
The sweet testimony my mother, Mamie, bore about this experience gave me a deep respect for the principle of tithing. Through her example and my own experiences, I have come to know that the Lord meant it when he said, "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" (Mal. 3:10). (Afton Reid Luker, "We Paid the Lord First," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 54)
Jennie N. Ernstrom, "Tithing Came before Presents," Ensign, Dec. 1988, 41
Following the stock market crash of 1929, the United States entered the Great Depression. Banks failed, and many businesses went bankrupt. As Christmas approached that year, many workers were unemployed.
Our family was among the lucky ones. We had no money in the banks, and so lost none when they closed their doors. My husband was still employed.
But unexpectedly, just a week before Christmas, his job was terminated. When he brought home his last paycheck, which amounted to sixty-three dollars, our first thought was, "How shall we spend it?"
We had canned plenty of fruit and vegetables, and we had a cow and chickens to provide milk, butter, and eggs. Our food supply was ample, so we planned to spend some of the money on Christmas presents for our three young children, ages six, four, and one.
Then the bishop announced that he would hold tithing settlement the following weekend. We had paid some tithing each month but had not paid it in full. We were always hoping that our finances would improve and make it possible for us to catch up.
After doing a little bookkeeping, we learned that we owed the bishop exactly sixty dollars if we were to end the year as full tithe-payers. Never had sixty dollars seemed such a vast amount! We were learning one of the greatest lessons in life: "Be honest with the Lord each payday."
The snow was deep, and the old Model-T Ford refused to start, even when my husband cranked it. We decided to walk to the bishop's home and give him the sixty dollars before we were tempted to spend some of it.
The walk back home seemed much shorter. We still had three dollars left for Christmas shopping.
The next day we went to the five-and-ten-cent store and purchased a small can of black paint, and another of red. We also bought a few trinkets that would please the children. My husband and I worked long hours after the children were asleep, creating wooden toys from scrap lumber and painting them. I sewed stuffed animals and made a Raggedy Ann doll.
When those tasks were finished, my husband went to get a Christmas tree from a nearby canyon. (In those days, Christmas trees were free if you cut them yourself.) While he was gone, the children and I made candy, popcorn balls, and cookies.
When we brought in the freshly-cut tree, the children helped us trim it, and we settled down to enjoy Christmas despite our lack of funds.
About the middle of January, my husband received a phone call with an offer of employment at one hundred and fifty dollars a month. It seemed like a fortune to us! From then until the day he died, my husband was never unemployed, and we prospered both spiritually and financially.
In Malachi 3:10 we read: "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."
We accepted the challenge, and the blessings indeed came. (Jennie N. Ernstrom, "Tithing Came before Presents," Ensign, Dec. 1988, 41)
Elizabeth Stoecker, "Sister, Have You Paid Your Tithing?" Ensign, Apr. 1973, 46
While living in Germany, I found myself confused about my feelings concerning the gospel. I had been raised in a part-member family and had married out of the Church. Finally, during World War II, I decided to find out if I had a testimony. I started reading the scriptures, and in answer to my prayers and fasting, I received a burning desire to be with the Church.
But I was always very confused about tithing. I did not earn a living after my marriage and was satisfied with just giving a fast offering. While my husband was serving under Hitler's regime, I received money from the government-and once more the question of tithing came up. For over three weeks I was confused. I turned to no one for guidance. Instead, I turned to the scriptures:
"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." (Mal. 3:10.)
I prayed about the matter, wanting to know how to apply the Lord's promise. My answer came in a wonderful way.
One morning I awoke at dawn, only to drop off into sleep again. I dreamed that the branch president had called all the Mormons in town and said the Saints were going to the promised land. He told us to gather at the meetinghouse. I assumed myself worthy and packed all the necessary items to go to the meeting, including my two children.
In my dream, in addition to many active members, many inactive members were holding their baptismal certificates, giving proof of their membership. The branch president soon arrived, carrying a large book on which was lettered "The Book of Life." In this book were listed those worthy to go to Zion. The names were few, and those who were called gathered into another room. When he closed the book, the rest of us murmured in dissatisfaction. We wondered what we had done to deserve such a fate. I was perplexed and sad. I then looked back on all the commandments I had broken.
I decided to take my two children and ask the president if I had not always been a faithful member. He replied that I had been and that I had always done more than my part to help others. "Perhaps I just overlooked your name." Three times he went through the list of names. Mine was not listed. He then looked into my eyes and asked, "Sister Stoecker, have you paid your tithing?"
At that moment I awoke. Numbed by the experience, I felt a burning in my breast. I knelt and thanked the Lord for answering my prayers. From that time forth I decided that I would take my "tithes into the storehouse" of the Lord.
I soon began to see the promise fulfilled that the Lord had pronounced: "and prove me now herewith ... 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." At that time I had been getting most of my food supplies from my mother-in-law, who charged a large sum of money for them. It was wartime and food was expensive. After paying my tithing to the branch president, I visited my mother-in-law, my face shining with happiness. To my surprise, she packed a basket twice as full as usual and told me that I would never have to pay her for food again.
The whole experience was a turning point in my life. (Elizabeth Stoecker, "Sister, Have You Paid Your Tithing?" Ensign, Apr. 1973, 46)
Gordon B. Hinckley
We hear some these days who say that because of economic pressures they cannot afford to pay their tithing. I recall an experience I had as a stake president some years ago. A man came to get his temple recommend signed. I questioned him in the usual way and asked, among other things, whether he was paying an honest tithing. He candidly replied that he was not, that he could not afford to because of his many debts. I felt impressed to tell him that he would not pay his debts until he paid his tithing.
He went along for a year or two in his normal way, and then made a decision. He talked about it some time later, telling me: "What you told me has proved to be true. I felt I could not pay my tithing because of my debts. I discovered that no matter how hard I tried, somehow I could not manage to reduce my debt. Finally my wife and I sat down together and talked about it and concluded we would try the promise of the Lord. We have done so. And somehow in a way we can't quite understand, the Lord has blessed us. We have not missed that which we have given to him, and for the first time in many years we are reducing our debt. We have come to the wisdom of budgeting our expenditures and of determining where our funds have been going. Because we now have a higher objective, we are able to curtail some of our appetites and desires. And above all of this, we feel we can now go to the house of the Lord with those deserving of this wonderful blessing."
We can pay our tithing. It is not so much a matter of money as it is a matter of faith. I have yet to find a faithful tithe payer who cannot testify that in a very literal and wonderful way the windows of heaven have been opened and blessings have been poured out upon him or her. ("The Sacred Law of Tithing," Ensign, Dec. 1989, 4)