“Our Tithing Windfall,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 64–65
In 1970 our family purchased a large, four-bedroom home located in a clearing by a lake near Olympia, Washington. It was surrounded by old-growth Douglas fir trees, and the graveled driveway wound about 250 feet through the trees to a paved road. We had purchased the property without knowing how much the utility bills might run each month. To our great disappointment, we discovered that our electric baseboard heating system resulted in a power bill five times more than we had anticipated.
When my wife and I carefully reevaluated our expenses, we found we did not have sufficient income to meet our obligations. I looked at my wife. “Maybe we could hold the tithing check …” I knew my suggestion wasn’t right, and the look of dismay on my wife’s face caused me to add, “No, we can’t do that. We must pay our tithing and trust in the Lord.”
That night my wife and I knelt together in prayer and recommitted ourselves to paying our tithes and offerings. We felt peaceful and had faith that the Lord would help us—a young, inexperienced couple—learn how to manage our money. The following Sunday we gave our tithing to the bishop.
About a week later a winter storm hit our area. The wind and rain were so severe that I had difficulty keeping the car on the road as I drove home from work that day. I noticed that several tree limbs had blown down and that electrical power was off in many places. As I turned onto the country road that led to our home, I stopped for the mail and saw a large, very wet cardboard box below our mailbox. I picked it up, noted it came from my father, and put it in the car. I drove partway into our driveway but was stopped by a large tree that had fallen during the storm. I left the car and hauled my things, including the heavy box, to the house. There I opened the box and removed the packaging material. It was a chain saw. Why, I wondered, had my father sent me a chain saw?
In the morning I examined the tree sprawled across the driveway. The entire tree looked dry.
I remembered the chain saw and went to get it. When I cut into the tree, it was indeed dry and would easily burn. I spent the remainder of the day cutting, splitting, and stacking the wood. As the pile of wood mounted, I began to recognize that this was an answer to our prayers!
Later, when I spoke with my father, he told me that he had purchased a new chain saw and the thought had come to him to send us his older one. It had arrived on the day we needed help. Throughout the winter we made the best use possible of each piece of wood cut from the once-stately fir tree, and we had sufficient fuel to heat our home.
My wife and I have reflected many times on this incident. The Lord knew more about our needs and how they could effectively be met than we did. Left to ourselves, we likely could not have met our financial obligations, but with the Lord’s help we were freed from financial worries in a surprising and wonderful way.