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Tithing: Opening the windows of heaven by Neil L. Andersen

The word "Tithe" denotes a tenth part given for the service of God. The first recorded instance of tithing appears in Genesis 14 when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizadek, the high priest. When Abraham paid his tithes, they were most likely the "...firstlings of his flocks and fields." Today, we pay tithing on the income with which we are blessed. Malachi 3:8-18 says, "Blessings from the payment of tithing are both temporal and spiritual, and failure to pay an honest tithe is a form of robbery."

Latter-day revelation emphasizes the law of the tithe as a duty and a test of faithfulness. The honest payment of tithing sanctifies both the indiidual and the land on which he lives. The spiritual power of the divine law of tithing is not measured by the amount of money, rather the power comes from putting our trust in the Lord.

In our last General Conference, President Nelson shared how he hadnt paid tithing as a your intern on his $15 a month income. However, he repented, started paying his tithing, and learned that tithing is about faith not money. He later realized that several professional opportunities came to him because of having paid tithing.

As a young boy, President Gordon B. Hinckley asked his father how tithing money was used. His father told him "Its your God-given obligation to pay tithing. Once you pay it, it belongs to the Lord and is no longer yours." His father then said, " the Authorities use that money to build up the Kingdom Of God on the earth, and in so doing, are answerable to Heavenly Father on how thats done.

Elder Andersen shares several stories of blessings that come from paying tithing: Brother Roger Parra from Venezuela shred the following experience with Elder Andersen. "In 2019 Venezuela was shaken by problems that caused a power blackout for five days. Chaos and anarchy reigned in the streets, and many desperate people did not have sufficient food. Some began looting food businesses, destroying everything in their path. As the owner of a small bakery, I was very worried about our business. As a family, we decided to give away all the food in our bakery to people in need. Through one very dark night riots were everywhere. My only concern was for the safety of my beloved wife and children. At dawn I went to our bakery. Sadly, every nearby food business had been destroyed by looters, but to my great astonishment, our bakery was intact. Nothing had been destroyed, I humbly thanked my Heavenly Father. Arriving home, I told my family of God's blessing and protection. They were all so grateful. My oldest son, Rogelio, only 12 years old, said, "Papa! I know why our store was protected. You and Mama always pay your tithes." Brother Parra concluded" "The words of Malachi came into my mind. "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground." We knelt down and gratefully thanked our Heavenly Father for His miracle.

The words "Prove me now herewith" is a phrase only found in the Scriptures when quoting Malachi: All that we have/all that we are comes from God: He's asked us to return to Him and His kingdom 10% of our increase. By being honest in our tithes, He will "Open the windows of Heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Recently, I found a $5.00 bill. I asked if anyone had lost some money and no one resoponded, so I paid tithing on it and kept it.

Blessings come in many ways: In 1998 I accompanied then Elder Henry B. Eyring to a large Church meeting in the Utah area now known as Silicon Slopes, a community of great innovation in technology. It was a time of growing prosperity, and Elder Eyring cautioned the Saints about comparing what they had with others and wanting more. I will always remember his promise that as they paid an honest tithe, their desire for more material possessions would diminsh. Within 2 years, the technology bubble burst. Many lost their jobs, and companies struggled during this time of financial adjustment. Those who followed the counsel of Elder Eyring were blessed.

His promise reminded me of another experience. I met 12 year old Charlotte Hlii near Carcassonne, France, in 1990 while serving as a mission president. the Hlimis were a faithful family living in an apartment with 8 children. They had a picture of the Savior and of the prophet on the wall. In the interview for her patriarchial blessing, I asked Charlotte if she paid an honets tithe. She responded, "Yes, President Andersen. My mother taught me that if we always pay our tithing, we will want for nothing. And President Andersen, we want for nothing." In giving me permission to share her story, Charlotte, now 45 and sealed in the temple, commented: "My testimony of tithing is very real at the time, and it is even stronger now. I am deeply grateful for this commandment. As I live it I continue to be abundantly blessed.

One day each of us will finish our earlthly journey. Twenty-five years ago, just days before my mother in law, Martha Williams, died of cancer, she received a small check in the mail. She immediatley asked my wife, Kathy, for her checkbook to pay her tithing. As her mother was so weakened that she could scarcely write, Kathy asked if she could write the check for her. Her mother responded, "No, Kathy. I want to do it myself." And then she quietly added, " I want to be right before the Lord." One of the final things Kathy did for her mother was to hand her tithing envelope to her bishop.

Our generous tithes and offering have allowed the church to spend over a billionn US doallars to bless those in need. There are over 71,000 missionaries serving in 414 missions, 177 Temples are operating around the world, 59 Temples are under construction or renovation, 79 Temples are in the planning and design stage and 30,000 congregations are housed in chaples/other facilities in 195 countries. The church sponsors five institutions of higher learning that serve 145,000 students. One hundred and ten thousand classes are taught each week in seminaries and institutes. The added abundance of the Lord through our generous tithes has: Strengthened the reserves of the Church and is advancing the Lord's work beyond anything we have yet experienced. All is known by the Lord, and in time we'll see His sacred purposes fulfilled.

God's important work: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is "out of obscurity," that it is no longer unknown, bringing remarkable blessings across the earth. Some will cheer us forward, and some wont. Elder Andersen said, I have thought of the words of the wise Gamaliel, who, upon hearing of the miracles of the Apostles Peter and John, warned the council in Jerusalem: "Let [these men] alone: for if ... this work be of men, it will come to nought: "But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest be found even to fight against God." You and I are part of God's important work on the earth, and it will not come to naught but continue to move across the world.

Russell M. Nelson said, "In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior's power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time He returns..., He will bestow countless privileges, blessings, and miracles upon the faithful."

I bear my testimony of paying tithing and the blessings it brings! By doing so, the windowns of Heaven will open and pour out imeasurable blessings to all who faithfully live this law. There is no earthly calculator, Accountant, or mathmetician who can prove this law will work true, because it comes from a Higher Source, our loving Heavenly Father with whom we all want to live someday along with our families. Forever!

Written by: Carol Cole

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