“Return unto me and I will return unto you, … ye are cursed with a curse … even this whole nation” The Lord makes it perfectly clear that paying our tithing, and paying fast offerings is not a suggestion, but a commandment that He takes very seriously even to the point of cursing the whole nation of Isreal in the prophet Malachi’s day.“Return unto me and I will return unto you, … ye are cursed with a curse … even this whole nation”
Malachi 3: 10 tells us something significant about why the Lord chooses to operate His church on tithes and offerings. He says “prove me now herewith …. 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.” The promise of blessings continues into verses 11 and 12. “The honest payment of tithing is much more than a duty; it is an important step in the process of personal sanctification. To those of you who pay your tithing, I commend you. To those of you who presently are not obeying the law of tithing, I invite you to consider your ways and repent. I testify that by your obedience to this law of the Lord, the windows of heaven will be opened to you…. I testify spiritual and temporal blessings come into our lives as we live the law of tithing.” (David A. Bednar Oct. 2013)personal sanctification
Some blessings we seek may not come to us as we hope or expect and we have to recognize a couple of principles; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55: 8) “… dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12: 6) Exercise faith in an all powerful God who, as Elder Packer testified; “There is no end to His power to bless and direct the lives of those who seek truth and righteousness.” (Oct. 2014)
Included in the scripture from Malachi is the admonition to not only pay tithing but also offerings; “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, where-in have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”(Malachi 3: 8) As saints we have “a personal responsibility to care for the poor and needy.” (Bishop Dean M. Davies, Oct. 2014 & D&C 44: 6) “The Lord has established the law of the fast and fast offerings to bless His people and to provide a way for them to serve those in need.” (Handbook 2, 6.2)
Isaiah 58: 6. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
9. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say , Here I am.”
Fasting for 24 hours and donating the cost of the meals we missed to the Fast Offering Fund is the basic principle of which Bishop Davies said in his conference talk; “I cannot think of any law, any commandment, which if kept faithfully, is easier to keep and which provides greater blessings than the law of the fast.” The money goes to the Bishop or Branch President who, if we are generous, can in turn be generous to those under his stewardship who are in need. It does not require monetary sacrifice to donate the amount we would have spent on the meals we missed, and if we are in a position to do so we are urged to be generous and give more than the cost of the two meals.I cannot think of any law, any commandment, which if kept faithfully, is easier to keep and which provides greater blessings than the law of the fast.
I know that paying tithes and offerings has blessed my life both temporally and spiritually. I close with the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “the Lord said the poor would one day see the kingdom of God coming to deliver them ‘in power and great glory’ (D&C 56: 18). May we help fulfill that prophecy by coming in the power and glory of our membership in the true Church of Jesus Christ to do what we can to deliver any we can from the poverty that holds them captive and destroys so many of their dreams”.
Merry Christmas to all, Elder Eric Slocombe, India New Delhi Mission secretary.