Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Faith Promoting Story

This last Sunday Avram and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting at Church. The topic was tithing, and more specifically Elder Child's talk on Tithing as an Investment given at the April 2008 conference. As with all talks I'm assigned, when I first hear the topic my mind always goes blank as to what I specifically can say on that topic. Of course, I couldn't think of any amazing tithing stories, like the family (in the Philippines, I think) he mentioned that paid their tithing (knowing they had no food in the house) and then as they were walking home a breadfruit fell in front of them, and they ate that. Partly too paying tithing - paying ten percent of your income or increase to the Lord - isn't that large of a topic. I covered the essential in the previous sentence, which is, Pay it.

As Avram and I talked about the topic, I came up with things to say, most exciting for me about the Investments from paying tithing - being able to be married in the temple for forever, being able to attend the temple. Sunday morning as I was writing the talk I thought back to the conversation the previous night where we had talked about how starting the month of October we knew we didn't have enough money to last the month. Avram receives his first stipend from the OSU on October 31, and until then (since moving here September 5) we've been living on money we had from his job in England, the stimulus check, and money he earned over the summer. Fast Sunday in October we paid our tithing, which was a fairly large amount for us because it contained the tithing on a lot of the previously mentioned sources of income. The money we paid contained enough for us to last through the month, but it never even occurred to us to not pay tithing and instead keep it for ourselves.

I don't chalk this up to unnaturally high righteousness as much as years of training and faith instilled in us by our parents and teachers. I know that many times in our marriage (filled with full time schooling) we've had times where we pay our tithing and live on faith. I'm sure that many of you, my dear readers, have had similar experiences.

We also fasted that same day for a way to get through this month. Here on October 29 we have sixty dollars to our name - but we've made it through where we never should have been able to (we're talking hundreds of dollars deficit in the budget department).

I enjoyed giving my talk, my favorite part of which was the personal story I told (I'm a sucker for personal stories. I love hearing them in Conference). I hadn't even realized until the morning of it was a story in paying tithing and having faith, but pay we did and faith we had. I think a lot of life is like that; living through it doesn't seem always large or miraculous, but looked at in the whole it often is.

Then the next day Avram received notification that he was one of the recipients of the Hugh Nibley Fellowship that The Maxwell Institute (used to be FARMS) gives to some graduate students studying the ancient world (Biblical mainly, or maybe Book of Mormon stuff). He's earned (received? won? been given? who knows) $3,000, a sum far greater than we thought he would get assuming he even was chosen at all. I must admit I did a little happy dance in the kitchen.

Now, I don't think that just because we paid our tithing the Lord sent us $3,000 (although I'm not discounting that either). I do think that we have been blessed regardless. Now we get to buy a washer and dryer among other things like having a savings account and sending Avram to the SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) conference in November, where he gets to schmooze with his old Professors and buy expensive biblical commentaries and grammars.

Ironically, we still only have $60 right now, because The Maxwell Institute has to send the check to OSU which will then disburse it to Avram. But soon we'll be very, very rich (by my current standards).Footnote one.

On Monday at the Bishop's birthday party a member of the bishopric told Avram and I that after the talks on Tithing on Sunday a member of the ward paid their tithing, who had really struggled with paying because they didn't have enough money after they paid it - but they felt inspired by the promises of the Lord opening the windows of heaven, and paid it to this Brother. This member said that now they had no money in their bank account at all. The bishopric member said that he'd been praying for them since this happened. So have Avram and I. Fervently. Not that I doubt the Lord, nor his blessings, but because I know that sometimes what the Lord knows we need isn't always what we think we need, but in this case I hope that what this member needs (money to survive) is what the Lord will provide, so their faith will be strengthened.

It's rather sobering to know that you and your husband (and a third speaker) were the cause of someone paying tithing. Of course, that's what we all gave the talks for. But it's a large responsibility to promise the blessings of the Lord on his behalf from the scriptures, and then have someone take you up on the offer.

I have seen the Lord help us this last month (more by lessening our needs and wants than by expanded resources), and I know he can help this member as well.

Footnote one. It's actually scary how fast three thousand dollars can whiz by, even in the planning stages. I tell Avram I feel like I'm a leaky ship or vessel. Every time we get a little money, I plug one leak, or recover one surface, but it feels like I'll never have enough to cover the whole vessel. Does anyone ever have enough to buy a new, leak-proof vessel? Or do our ideas of what's new and leak-proof just grow with our appropriate income?


  1. I remember this stage well. Now, at 54, I don't have the energy to get out and WANT as much as I used to. Good way to save money. Be tired.

    I think it's also because when I was younger I wanted a lot of things, and needed a lot of things that aren't even a blip on my screen now--in fact, I'm busy throwing them out the back door to D.I. or Salvation Army.

    It will stop. I promise.

  2. I have a friend who has always paid tithing, even when she was inactive and living with her boyfriend. I have never known her to have any financial issues and it has always seemed that despite the smallness of her income she is always able to afford much more than we ever could!

  3. Hey, thanks for the comment! Stop by anytime! (And good job being proud of your 50's housewife status. The world needs that insight once in awhile!!!)

  4. Love it. Follow up with how that member was blessed. We believe they will be also.

  5. R. Buckmonster Fuller (a Halloweenish mis-spelling) said that we would always receive what we need, with faith (in a slightly different context, he being an atheist), but ONLY AND ALWAYS just in the nick of time and ONLY AND ALWAYS just exactly the amount needed. For sixty years, until the day he died, he gave away every cent he had at the end of every month, sometimes giving away millions of dollars a month to stay "even", and never lacked for anything. It''s true.

  6. I'm not LDS. But when ever I come into unexpected money, I give 1/2 of it to someone who needs it. Who it is changes, based on the amount I recieve unexpectedly, and, my feelings at the moment. It might be a cause (Romanian Orphans, The Spokane River Clean-Up, the Food Bank) or it might be a friend or family member that is in need. Or it might be a random homeless person. Sometimes it's way more than 1/2.

    Being a freelancer, and having to rely only on my self for income, I lived much like Mr. Fuller.

    I knew I could expect a check from a client, because the power bill was due. That dosen't make a lot of sence to economists, but it allways worked for me.

  7. I needed to read this, Thora. Wow. We came out through the financial tunnel fairly recently and the freedom has gone to our heads a bit. We're not being even remotely responsible and really need to reign ourselves in. Thanks. This was just beautiful.

  8. thanks for the reminder.. we are actually behind on tithing. not becuase we dont mean to pay it but every week this past month we forget to take the checkbook to church. something about getting three kids up and dressed and in the car by 8:50. we are not good at being morning people. but hey you just reminded me to put my checkbook on the bookbag right now so I wont forget on sunday again. :)

    Its amazing how those that pay tithing it helps them. if nothing else it helps you to budget your money and be more mindful and accountable to your spending habits. Cory and I have always been blessed to have enough money to get by. In our first three years of marriage we barely scraped by some monthes but always had food to eat and all the other things essantial like housing and utilities. We are now spoiled with having enough for fast internet ( yes we actually had dial up when we were first married, i was that cheap!) cable tv, cell phones, and newly aquaired Van. Not to mention we can go out for a hamburger or a movie if we feel so inclined. I think its good that we grew up poor becuase then all these things that most people take for granted just make me feel rich! :) I still wonder what people do that make lots of money.. if cory gets this new job it will be 66,000 a year and double our income. I have had a field day thinking of all the things we could do with double income.. things like bunkbeds and dressers that are new to us ( we currently have 5 hand me down dressers two of which really really dont work. (Half of the drawers broken and falling apart.) I am sure we will do like everyone else and find a way to just wast more money. but knowing me i will just pay off my mortgage in 15 years instead and yell at cory every time he spends 5 dollars at Arby's because i am cheap and its hard to break that habbit! :)

    Wow i am long winded tonight. Its because cory is dealing with our screaming-like-a-banshee theo who is cutting 8 teeth at once and wants to make sure the whole block knows he is uncomfortable. I am down here hiding from them and enjoying the break i get from bedtime routine ( cory works nights and its his day off)

    okay before i take up any more of the room in your comments i will stop, but i may have to call you tomorrow and talk your ear off.