Tithing Came First

    “Tithing Came First,” Liahona, Dec. 1996, 48

    Tithing Came First

    “Should we pay our tithing or make our farm payment?” That was the dilemma facing my father, Henry L. Smith, in 1920.

    Like the others who had settled the small Latter-day Saint community of Virden, New Mexico, my parents were hard-working people who trusted in the Lord. But we were not financially prosperous. A few sacks of grain were usually about all we had to show for a year’s work.

    After many prayers and lots of hard work, we had a good wheat harvest in 1920. But the demand and the selling price were very low. Through bartering, we had enough to eat. Then the mortgage payment came due. It was important that all of the families who had purchased the farmland together make their payment on time—or everyone’s property would be in jeopardy.

    My parents, like most farmers, had to wait until harvest time to pay their tithing. Unfortunately, they realized that they could pay their tithing or the farm payment, but not both. Daddy did have several sacks of wheat he could sell, but he had no interested buyers.

    “We felt we had to pay our tithing, but we could not fail with our land payment,” he wrote in his journal. “We went to the Lord and placed our problem before Him. When we were through, we had the impression we should pay our tithing first.”

    According to Daddy’s journal, a few days after he had paid the tithing, “a man whom I had never seen before came and purchased all of our wheat at a good price. We now had the money for our land payment.”

    Where the man came from or where he went, Daddy never found out. Nor did he learn why the man was willing to pay such a good price. His journal simply records: “We felt the Lord had a way of taking care of us if we were faithful and put our trust in him.”

    The Lord had indeed opened the windows of heaven and poured us out a blessing.

    Illustrated by Scott M. Snow