from general conference: tithing & provident living

During April’s General Conference, I noticed more “provident living” references than ever…yes, much because of the Church Welfare Program’s 75th anniversary…but there it was, none the less.  🙂

Tithing

For those of you who are not of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, LDS members believe that all that we have comes from the Lord.  From Old Testament times, the Lord has asked his people to voluntarily give 10% of all earnings and increase back to Him.

Today, these funds

  • provide means to run the Church
  • build church buildings, meeting houses, and temples
  • help organize and create learning materials (textbooks) used at Church
  • run the missionary program (just the program, individual missionaries are responsible for their living expenses, etc.)
  • are used for Education
  • pay for Temple Work, family history, and other Church programs (like the Welfare Program)

Elder Carl B. Pratt of the Seventy shared an experience of his grandparents and tithing in a talk entitled, The Lord’s Richest Blessings:

(click here to read his grandparent’s story)

There is a possibility of misinterpretation in this story from my grandparents. We might conclude that since we pay tithing with money, the Lord will always bless us with money. I tended to think that way as a child. I have since learned it doesn’t necessarily work that way. The Lord promises blessings to those who pay their tithing. He promises to “open … the windows of heaven, and pour … out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). I testify that He fulfills His promises, and if we faithfully pay our tithing, we will not lack for the necessities of life, but He does not promise wealth. Money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. He blesses us with wisdom to manage our limited material resources, wisdom that enables us to live better with 90 percent of our income than with 100 percent. Thus, faithful tithe payers understand provident living and tend to be more self-reliant.

*****

No, you may not be paying tithing, the same way we are, but I know that many of you give freely to those in need.  I have found that the more I give away, the more that our family is blessed in our need.  We have been very blessed by friends and family who have passed on clothing, shoes, and even toy treasures.  Friends in the neighborhood, as well as the designer’s mother, have given freely of their garden excess.  Much of our pantry this Winter was filled with the produce given to us.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate  it all.

Before Christmas, we helped the children go through their stuff and give away that which they were not using.  Recently, they were blessed to receive more hand-me-downs and so we talked with them again about giving away that which they no longer need.  I find that like anything we want to become a real part of our lives…that we need to practice the principle often, and continually remind each other of the blessings we’ve been given.  Just like Elder Pratt’s grandparents, as we receive more, (even when it is not in the form of a paycheck), giving away that which we no longer need is a part of paying our tithing.

I am always amazed at how we get by without purchasing much.  It also amazes me how giving a little here and there helps us all become more self-sufficient.  The Lord is teaching me, personally, how to make more out of what we have…the wisdom of which Elder Pratt speaks.  I am ever grateful for that knowledge and pray that our family will find a greater love for our friends & family as we celebrate the attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving, and a similar love for our friends, family, neighbors and those we do not know as we freely give.

How has giving to others blessed you in your needs?  Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo~ katrina

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