Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tithing

We are currently in Portland, OR on a work trip/vacation. The ward that we attended this morning was excellent (as all wards are). We both especially loved one of the speakers in sacrament meeting. He spoke on the law of tithing! In our church we pay 10% of our income to the Lord. I wanted to share some key points that the speaker touched on and also share the talk that he referenced quite a bit.

First of all he started by saying that paying tithing is a PRIVILEGE. He said there are 7 reasons why we need/want to pay tithing. I can only remember 6 because I didn't start writing them down until half-way through the talk so I will share what I remember.

1. We pay our tithing so that God will pour out blessings upon us.
2. We pay tithing to express love to a generous & loving Heavenly Father.
3. We pay tithing as a declaration that material wealth and possession is not the most important goal in our mortal lives.
4. We pay our tithing as an affirmation that we are on the Lord's side.
5. We pay tithing so that we have church buildings to meet in, temples to worship in, etc.
6. We pay our tithing because we are indebted to God. He has given us all that we have and His only requirement in return is that we give 10% of what He has blessed us with.

The last one is especially important I thought. Here is what Elder Talmage said about paying tithing:

Paying tithing is not a token gift we are somehow charitably bestowing upon God. Paying tithing is discharging a debt. Elder James E. Talmage once described this as a contract between us and the Lord. He imagined the Lord saying: “ ‘You have need of many things in this world—food, clothing, and shelter for your family … , the common comforts of life. … You shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase … [so] instead of doing as mortal landlords do—requir[ing] you to … pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or … prospects may be—you shall pay me … [only] when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then … [your 10 percent will be a] little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then … [your 10 percent will be] less. … [Whatever your circumstance, the tithe will be fair.]’

“Have you ever found a landlord on earth who was willing to make that kind of [equitable] contract with you?” Elder Talmage asks. “When I consider the liberality of it all,” he says, “… I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to … Heaven … if I tried to defraud [God] out of that [which is rightfully His].”

Click HERE to read the remainder of Elder Holland's talk on tithing. I have always loved to pay my tithing. It is not something I think of as a sacrifice. It is rent for my existence here on Earth. By paying tithing we are only receiving an increase in the blessings that God can give us! I have a lot of experience with seeing the blessings of paying tithing. If I had not paid my tithing then I never would have been able to afford tuition for school. If we were not paying our tithing now then I know that my husband and I would be paying off student loans for years. But instead we are on the path to being student loan/debt free by the end of this year. It is all because of tithing. Whenever we feel discouraged about meeting our goal, we pay our tithing and immediately we see extra bonuses from work roll in, and news of raises this year, and the stock we have scheduled to sell always jumps up right before it sells. These are not coincidences, they are blessings of paying our tithing. I know that if we follow the commandments of the Lord and pay our tithing we will be blessed beyond measure! So hop to it and start putting the payment of tithes as first priority in your financial lives!

4 comments:

  1. Great thoughts Meagan! Wow you guys sure are traveling a lot! Nick and I were talking about tithing today too, Nick was saying to me that we pay it because we weren't ready for the Law of Consecration. Perhaps the more we obey the law of tithing, the more ready we will be one day to live a higher law.

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  2. I have a question. It is intended to provoke thought, not provoke debate. Since tithing is an obligation, does this obligation conflict with getting a tax deduction for it? After all, the idea of the government granting a tax deduction is that a payment to a charitable cause is a no strings attached gift, not an obligation. This is true regardless of the denomination, so this is true whether it be LDS or any other denomination that believes tithing is an obligation. If I were to buy something from any church on credit (say land, for the purpose of illustration) I am obligated. If I report the debt on my income tax, I believe it would be reasonable that I would be denied this deduction. Technically, the IRS may still consider this a gift, because it is not bond by US laws as a legal obligation. However, the question still remains. In the eyes of God, should a tax deduction be granted on the basis of a tithing obligation?

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  3. As far as I know it is fine to using tithing as a tax deduction. It is considered a charitable donation.

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  4. Absolutely! The bishop in my ward highly encourages us to pay our tithing once a month rather than every paycheck so that the amount is high enough to use as a tax deduction. If it's less than a certain amount then it doesn't count. If my bishop is counseling us to use it as a tax deduction then I would say it is definitely okay in the eyes of God!

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