“But How Could I Mention Tithing?” Ensign, Apr. 2002, 57
Several years ago when I was a missionary serving in the Villa Mercedes area in Argentina, my companion and I attended a branch activity that promised to be enjoyable.
As we exchanged greetings with the brothers and sisters of the branch, however, I noticed a recently baptized sister who, though usually smiling and talkative, seemed sad. She was keeping herself from the main body of the group, so I approached her and asked if something was bothering her.
As tears came to her eyes, she explained the difficulty of raising her small children by herself. She lived in the neighboring rural community of Justo Daract and could not afford the train fare for her boy to attend school in Villa Mercedes. She said she was considering taking him out of school for a time until she could find a better job.
My heart ached to hear of her difficulties, when suddenly the thought of tithing came to my mind. Initially I fought the prompting. How could I mention tithing to this sister who worried about how to come up with enough money every day to send her boy to school? Might the Lord make an exception in her case? But the prompting persisted, and I felt the sweet confidence that the Holy Spirit grants to us as we testify of eternal truths.
I asked the sister if she had paid her tithing. She said she had paid it a couple of times after she was baptized, but with her recent challenges she could not see how she could pay it now. I told her the Lord knew her circumstances, and if she would pay her tithing He would bless her. The Spirit was warm and reassuring, and she managed a smile as she joined the rest of the group.
A couple of weeks later, my companion and I boarded the train and made the 30-minute journey to Justo Daract to visit this good sister. As she invited us into her humble home, I kept thinking about what I had said to her earlier about tithing and wondered whether she had decided to put the commandment to the test.
We had scarcely sat down when she began to tell us she had been offered a job in Villa Mercedes as a housekeeper. This job would provide room and board for her and her children, and because she would be living in Villa Mercedes, her son would be close to the public school.
I then found the nerve to ask her if she had paid her tithing. Her eyes twinkled with a look that said “I was about to tell you,” and she responded, “Yes, I have paid my tithing.”
Once again I felt the confirming reassurance of the Spirit that God will “pour [us] out a blessing” (Mal. 3:10) if we will exercise faith through obedience to the law of tithing.