More Blessings Than I Could Receive

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“More Blessings Than I Could Receive,” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 58–59

More Blessings Than I Could Receive

I gained a testimony of the law of tithing the summer before my senior year of high school. I remember finances were tight for my mother, who was a single parent trying to raise two teenage boys. To pay for school clothes and occasional entertainment that summer, I had thinned sugar beets, picked cherries, cleaned irrigation ditches, bucked hay bales, and mowed lawns. Unfortunately, this type of work usually lasted only a few days for any single employer.

It was late July, and it had been several weeks since I had been able to find work. All the potential employers I approached already had the help they needed. I became even more discouraged when I took account of my finances: $6 and some change. With fewer than four weeks of summer vacation remaining, I had yet to purchase my school clothes and, like all teenagers, I wanted to be able to do things with my friends as well.

Then I remembered I had neglected to pay tithing on the money I had received for my last job. I dug through the top drawer of my dresser and found my last pay stub: $63. A quick mental calculation told me my debt to the Lord amounted to nearly every cent I had!

I recalled my mother telling me that even though it was difficult for her to make ends meet, she always paid her tithes and offerings first. When I had asked her why, she said the Lord would always bless us if we would keep all of His commandments. Then she shared with me Malachi 3, verses 8 and 10: [Mal. 3:8, 10]

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. …

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and 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.”

Still, I balked at giving up my last few dollars. I decided I would try to get another job, then pay tithing with the money I earned. As the week progressed, though, the prospect of finding a job became more bleak. I remembered seeing one of my mother’s books, Faith Precedes the Miracle, by President Spencer W. Kimball, and realized I had made the wrong decision. I resolved to pay my debt to the Lord. I sealed up my tithing in an envelope, and when Sunday came I handed it to the bishop.

The following Wednesday I received a phone call from a friend. He had been working for a local farmer who needed an extra person that Thursday and Friday. Was I interested? I eagerly accepted the offer. Even though two days’ salary probably wouldn’t meet all my needs, it was a start. The next day, my friend picked me up and we set to work stacking hay. It was hot and dusty. I was concerned because I had severe hay fever and was prone to asthma attacks. To my surprise, I found I was able to work steadily through the day with strength and energy I didn’t know I had. The day ended, and I went home pleased with the work I had done.

I had been home less than a half hour when I received a phone call from another friend. He asked if I would be willing to go with him to harvest wheat for his uncle. The job would begin the next Monday and continue until school started. It also paid $2 an hour—a wage unheard of in a day when most farm employees were making $1.60 an hour. I was elated at the thought of making so much money and learning to operate heavy equipment in the process. I gratefully accepted and hung up the phone, still reeling at the offer. Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang again. It was the fruit farm manager for whom I had picked cherries earlier in the summer. One of his full-time employees had recommended me for the upcoming peach harvest. He offered me an hourly position at a better wage than I had earned picking fruit earlier in the season. I was dumbfounded. I expressed my gratitude to him but explained I had just accepted another job that conflicted with his offer.

The next day I went to work to finish my job stacking hay. At the end of the day, the farmer asked me to continue working for him the remainder of the summer. Again, I had to decline the offer. The windows of heaven had truly been opened for me. The blessings given to me were so great that I could not receive all of them.

In the subsequent 25 years, I have paid my tithing immediately upon receiving my pay. Though I am not wealthy—and there have been lean times—I have never had to go without the necessities of life and have always been able to meet my financial obligations. By following the commandments of the Lord, my family and I have been blessed both spiritually and temporally.