Tithing My Way To The Temple
Growing up, I went to a Baptist church where a collection plate was passed around each Sunday and members would drop their money inside. It was called an offering or a donation plate and to be honest, it didn’t seem like they collected a lot each Sunday. The majority of people were putting in only a few dollars. One dollar bills and ten dollar bills were the most common currency. I always wondered how that church was able to pay everybody and take care of everything they needed to when there was so little there.
Looking back, I’m not really sure how the church got the rest of their money, but for whatever reason, the money they received was enough to grow that single church into a congregation that is now roughly 4 times the size it was when I was younger. Something was surely happening there.
When I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2008 and talked about tithing it made me reflect on that prior church experience and tithing as I knew it. I couldn’t say for certain, but I began to wonder if perhaps members of that old church were paying a tithe equal to 10% of their income and I just didn’t realize it, but it seemed to make sense.
One of the blessings of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the privilege of paying tithing. This privilege is a double blessing. By paying tithing, Church members show their gratitude to God for their blessings and their resolve to trust in the Lord rather than in material things. They also help further the work of the Lord in the earth, blessing others of God’s children with the opportunity to learn of Him and grow in the gospel. LDS.org
Tithing and Struggling
In the LDS church, members are encouraged to pay a tithe equal to 10% of their income. 10% seems like a lot when you are struggling.
“If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.” –Bishop Orellana
So, when I joined the church, it didn’t make sense to me that I – a struggling single mother – should pay 10% every month no matter what. Here I was, living paycheck to paycheck, barely covering the bills some months, borrowing money from people others and I was being asked to give up 10% of it. Perhaps it was my own selfishness or lack of faith, but I just couldn’t do it. Sure, there were months where I was faithful in paying my tithing, but there were many more where I was not.
I was assured many times that if I paid my tithing faithfully and fully that I would be blessed and I wouldn’t be left hanging. God would take care of me (See Malachi 3:10 below). The church would help me if I needed it, but I couldn’t wrap my head around giving money to the church only for it to be given back to me in the form of aid. Why couldn’t I just pay what I needed and cut out the middle man?
Prove Me Now…
I didn’t have faith that everything would work out. Instead I told myself that if I paid my tithing that I was definitely going to need some form of aid, and I am the type that hates to ask for help. It seemed easier to just not pay it.
I also didn’t see how the church giving me money back was a blessing from God when I could have just kept the money in the first place.
I even did a lesson for Activity Day Girls about tithing when I wasn’t even being faithful in paying mine.
I knew it was a matter of faith for me and if I could just let go of that, then everything would be okay and I would be blessed even more. By holding back, I was depriving myself of other blessings.
Malachi 3:10 is often quoted when dealing with tithes.
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.
Prove Me Now…
By not paying tithing was I holding back blessings from myself?
By not paying tithing I was unable to go to the temple. Even if everything else in my life was in order, I felt unworthy to go.
So, I made a decision recently that I would start paying my tithing every single month no matter what. Reading testimonies of other people who have struggled, but never failed paying tithing really helped me in this decision. We are often told that this is the one commandment we can be perfect at. So, I’m giving it my best. I’m tithing my way back to the temple.