The Tithing Habit

“The Tithing Habit,” Liahona, Dec. 1999, 48

The Tithing Habit

I always tell my granddaughter that tithing is the best money I ever spend.

It was nearly 60 years ago when I got into the tithing habit. I had gone to Chicago to find a job after graduating from college. I had in my pocket the money I’d earned from a summer job. It wasn’t much, but since I would be staying with friends and since the cost of living in 1941 was low, I thought I would have enough money to support myself until I could earn more.

The first Sunday I attended church in the Chicago area, one of the speakers talked convincingly about the importance of paying tithing and bore his testimony about the blessings of keeping that commandment. Although I had been raised in the Church, I had never paid or even thought of paying tithing. But that changed during that sacrament meeting. When it was over, I calculated how much money I had made during the summer and figured the tithing I owed on it. With almost all the cash I had, I paid my tithing debt. I had barely enough left for bus and train fare, and I didn’t have a job yet.

When I had left my family in another state, I had been sure I could make it on my own without financial help from my parents. Now I wasn’t so confident.

Finally, with only a few coins left, I stopped in a department store and used some free stationery to write my parents a letter asking for help. The letter would probably take three days to be delivered. Could I hold out that long? I wondered.

The next day I received a call from a company that needed some temporary help. (It later turned into a full-time job.) Gleefully I called my dad to tell him, “Never mind! I don’t need any money.”

Since that time I have always had what I need when I pay my tithing. And that is why I say to my granddaughter, “Paying tithing is the best money I ever spend. It buys me peace of mind.”

Illustrated by Scott Greer; electronically colorized