Day 23 – National Preparedness Month Challenge, Tithing is Spiritual Preparedness, Part 4
One of the most commonly misunderstood principles of spiritual preparedness is tithing. People usually regard tithing as a temporal law with temporal blessings, and as such it is often lumped in with financial preparedness. This is partially true, paying tithing does seem to make 90% of your money stretch as far or farther than 100% does, by some unexplainable phenomenon. However, the blessings and benefits of tithing are the spiritual preparedness that it brings into the lives of those who diligently practice this principle.
What is tithing?
It’s simple! Tithing is one tenth (10%) of all your increase. Not much, its less then the government asks, yet it seems so hard to do some times. President Howard W. Hunter explained
“The law is simply stated as‘one-tenth of all their interest.’ Interest means profit, compensation, increase. It is the wage of one employed, the profit from the operation of business, the increase of one who grows or produces, or the income to a person from any other source. The Lord said it is a standing law ‘forever’ as it has been in the past.” (In Conference Address, April 1964, 34)
It is no more and no less than 10%. Tithing also is freewill, we are not forced to pay it, but instead are blessed when we do. Our 10% also must be paid to the Lord, or his representative upon the earth, for the building up of his kingdom. 10% to any other source besides the Lord is simply a charitable donation and although it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it will not reap the same spiritual dividends as tithing would.
There is one more important part of tithing that really makes the difference and yet is often overlooked. Tithing is paid FIRST. Just as the Israelites were commanded to offer the first and the best to the lord, we too are asked to give the first 10% to the Lord. As Lynn G Robbins stated“When serving a meal, it is much easier to set one more plate at the beginning of the meal than it is to find food for a latecomer once the meal is over and the food has been served. Likewise, isn’t actually easier to give the Lord the firstlings or the firstfruits than it is to hope that there is sufficient‘leftovers’ for him? As the founder of our feast, shouldn’t He be the guest of honor, the first to be served?” (“The Law of Tithing,” General Conference, October 2006)
How is tithing spiritual preparedness?
Often we hear the tangible miracles and help given as a result of paying tithing. The scripture story of the Widow of Zarephath for example (1 Kings 17), which really eliminates any excuses we could possibly come up with for not paying tithing. Talks, sermons, and articles, feature stories of near empty cupboards lasting longer than possible. But the real blessings of tithing are not seen and sometimes are completely (and sadly) unnoticed. I would like to outline a few.
- When we pay tithing we have a greater confidence that we can ask God for that which we need. I can’t imagine a life where I felt I was completely on my own and helpless.
- Gratitude for what the Lord has blessed us with. Of all He gives us He only asks a meager 10% of what is still only a small portion of what He provides for us.
- Optimism – we are blessed with faith that things will always get better and work out for our ETERNAL good.
- Peace, one of the fruits of the spirit.
- An increased portion of his spirit, which we all need in order to overcome the difficulties and temptations that surround us daily.
- An increase of love for our Heavenly Father and the Savior, but also toward all their other children. Especially as we come to understand how tithing builds the kingdom and blesses their children.
- Heavenly assistance! The greatest help is not what we get from men but what we receive from the Lord. This could be an increase in our capacity to accomplish difficult tasks, faith and strength for heavy burdens, healing of infirmities, or just the strength to soldier on in the face of adversity.
- Not only does tithing develop faith but it tests our faith.
- We learn self control as we learn to live within our means and forgo our wants so that we can pay the Lord and follow his guidance.
- There are numerous blessings poured out that we can’t even beginning to list. The important thing is to remember that all those blessings we receive are tailored especially for us and our families. How wonderful to know that he knows and loves us so much that he knows exactly what we need, when even we don’t.
- Tithing is how we ACCEPT the blessings that he wants to give us. When we don’t pay tithing we effectually close “the windows of heaven.”
- We become less selfish as we learn to sacrifice and realize that which is most important and what it is that we really need.
- We develop the character of a disciple of the Lord, especially when the sacrifice is difficult. “The truer measure of sacrifice isn’t so much what one gives to sacrifice as what one sacrifices to give. Faith isn’t tested so much when the cupboard is full as when it is bare… the crisis doesn’t create character – it reveals it.” (Lynn G Robbins, “Tithing- a Commandment Even for the Destitute,” General Conference April 2005)
- We draw closer to the Lord as we realize how completely dependent we are on Him for our lively hood, capabilities, and life in general.
“The Lord knew from the beginning that we, His children, would be faced with temporal and spiritual adversities during this mortal life. Indeed, these adversities are a vital part of this mortal probation. He knew that we would stand in need of His blessings throughout our lives in order to not only survive our individual trials, but also to enjoy a degree of comfort and even prosperity.” (Daniel L Johnson, “The Law of Tithing,” Liahona, November 2006)
Not only does following the law of tithing fortify us against the trials and adversity that we face, but it opens the windows of heaven for us to receive the very blessings that we stand in need of during those times. Oh how blessed we all are, and how blessed we could be.
“Some may feel that they cannot afford to pay tithing, but the Lord has promised that He would prepare a way for us to keep all his commandments. To pay tithing takes a leap of faith in the beginning… We learn about tithing by paying it. Indeed, I believe it is possible to break out of poverty by having the faith to give back to the Lord part of what little we have.” (James E Faust, “Opening the Windows of Heaven,” Ensign, November 1998) Now is the time to develop your faith to pay tithing or that faith will not be there when you need it later.
Today’s challenge: Pay your tithing!
Good: Pay 10% of your income
Better: Pay your tithing before ANYTHING else is bought or paid.
Best: Examine your tithing “habit” or lack there of. Can you do better? What is your attitude toward tithing? Is it paid first? Have you included all your “increase”? Now change how you pay tithing. Study the law of tithing to better understand this special law of the Lord and all its hidden treasures.