Tithing is an amazing thing. Short of living the law of consecreation, it is the best way to abate pride from riches, and humble the financially blessed.
“The prime … purpose behind the establishment of the law of the tithe is the development of the soul of the tithe-payer, rather than the providing of revenue.”
—James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith p. 528
The Lord doesn’t need our money. He can easily make due without it and further His kingdom here on earth. The commandment of tithing is given for our own benefit. As Talmage notes, it is for the development of our soul. By paying an honest and full tithe, we learn to sacrifice, obey, and be selfless. Additionally, it serves as an excellent litmus test of faith, when financially trying times come.
“By this principle [tithing] the loyalty of the people of this Church shall be put to the test. By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping his commandments, thereby sanctifying the land of Zion unto God, and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion. There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by [our payment of tithes] it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful.”
—Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 225
The faithful tithe payer will be heeding the Lord’s challenge to “prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, 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 (Malachi 3:10).
Personally, I am amazed by tithing. During my teenage years I had a hard time paying, and rarely did so. But after changing my life and deciding to obey God’s commandments, I began to pay a full tithe.
The intriguing thing about the Lord pouring out such large blessings upon us as a result of paying our tithing is that we are then able to pay more tithing. Certainly, the Lord doesn’t “need” our tithing. But he will financially bless his righteous children so that they can then increasingly help the kingdom progress here on earth through donations of time, talent, and money.
This is a hard principle for non-members to understand. Giving up 10% of “our” hard-earned money, how are we ever to recoup it, and gain an increase? As Pres. Smith notes above, it all boils down to the principle of faith.
I’ve tested that faith. I’ve tried tithing. I’ve paid 10% faithfully for many years now. And with the clarity that retrospect brings, I can definitely see the windows of heaven opening to me in my life.