Why do we pay 10 percent of our gross income to the Church, not to mention the other offerings and donations, I wondered as I stared at our year-end tallies. And when did we start paying an honest tithing?
I honestly couldn't remember, but I could recall the stark differences when tithing settlement rolled around: one year feeling dread and apprehension and remorse; the next, peace and gratitude. The sense of satisfaction was overwhelming as not only my husband and I were able to declare ourselves full tithe payers, but each one of our children as well.I reminisced back to our college years as we struggled to get through school with a young family. Our bishop had called us in after a period of inactivity to see if we were interested in preparing to go to the temple. We said yes, but . . . and proceeded to give him a list of things that we did or did not do that would make us ineligible. He counseled us to take one thing at a time. He explained that although none of us is perfect, we can become perfect in specific principles of the gospel.
And what do you supposed headed his list? Tithing. He encouraged us to put the Lord to the test. We did, and what happened truly amazed us. A decade later, it still does.
It hasn't been easy over the years, especially trying to survive on the East Coast with one full-time income, but it's always been worth it. I could relate countless experiences where Heavenly Father has poured out His blessings based solely on our obedience to that one commandment.
Recently, while traveling home in the late afternoon, a glorious sky broke open before us. The sun broke through dense clouds, and for a moment it looked as though the heavens had parted.
"Is Jesus coming?" piped up a little voice from the back of the van. Before I could reply, someone else said, "No, but it looks like the angels are."
Suddenly a third party shouted, "It's true; it's true."
"What's true?" I asked.
"The windows of heaven. They really do open!"
Someone's Primary teacher had been reading out of the Old Testament: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse. . . ." (Mal. 3:10.)
That same 8-year-old produced a crossroad puzzle later that night. Only two of his clues remained unsolved.
"Mom," he asked, "why do we pay our tithing?"
I thought the answer would be centered around obedience and asked, "how many letters?"
"Only four," he said, "and the second letter is O."
It was then that it hit me. Why do we pay tithing? Because we love the Lord. It's as pure and simple as that.
True, once we paid tithing just to prove the Lord. And there were other times when we paid it because we needed a specific blessing, sometimes more temporal in nature. But thanks to an 8-year-old, his Primary teacher and a beautiful Virginia sky, I now really knew why.