A father sent his son on a long, dangerous, and difficult journey. The son was worried and asked, “Father, how can I be sure to arrive safely?”
The father smiled and told his son, “Do not worry. I have provided a way for you to receive all the help you will need.”
“How will I be able to get the help when I need it?” asked the boy.
His father replied, “It is simple: love and trust me more than anything else.”
“But how can I show you that I love and trust you more than anything else?” asked the son.
The father put a loving hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “I will know if you love and trust me more than anything else by the choices you make when I am not with you.”
The boy inquired, “But how will you know what choices I make when we are not together?”
“Oh, I will know,” replied his good father. Then he added, “Now go; it is time to begin your journey.”
After walking for two days, the boy ran out of food and water. Without money, feeling tired and weak, he saw a stand where a vendor was selling bread, fried yam, roasted plantain, and sachet water. Hungry and thirsty, the boy grabbed a sachet of water and a loaf of bread and ran off. As he ran, he remembered that his father had taught him that he would know whether the boy loved and trusted his father more than anything by the choices he would make on the journey. He knew that his father was an honest man and would never steal.
So the boy returned to the stand and returned the water sachet and bread to the vendor. The vendor smiled and told the boy that the boy’s father was a friend of his and had asked him to watch and see what the boy would do when he walked by the vendor’s stand. The vendor said, “This was a test of your character. If you had simply taken the sachet water and bread and not returned, then you would not have received any help from me and would instead have learned to be a thief.
The vendor continued, “However, because you chose to be honest like your father taught you, you are showing that you really do love and trust him more than anything else—even when you are very hungry and thirsty. You are learning to be a good and noble man like your father.” The vendor took the boy by the hand and said, “If you will work for it, I will give you the food and water you need.”
The boy continued the journey. He faced many temptations and difficulties on the journey. But he remembered the lesson he learned in returning the sachet water and bread. He tried to show by his day-to-day decisions that he truly loved his father more than anything or anyone else. By doing this, he found people all along the journey who his father had put on the path he traveled in order to teach, help, and encourage him. When he safely arrived at his destination, he had become a strong, honest man of great trust and noble character—just like his father.
Our Heavenly Father has sent us on a mortal journey here on earth. The great test of our mortal journey—and only way to receive all of the help our loving Father has provided for each of us on our journey—is to show Him by the choices we make that we truly love and trust Him more than anything, or anyone, else. In fact, He sent us to earth “to see if [we] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command [us]” (Abraham 3:25).
Tithing is a commandment of God and the test is to see if we love and trust our God enough to obey this commandment. If we pass the test by living the law of tithing, we will find all of the help our Father in Heaven has provided for us. If, however, we choose to not keep the law, we will not receive the help He provided for us. Instead, will learn the ways of the world—and those ways cannot bring us the blessings our loving Father in Heaven offers us.
Our obedience to the law of tithing shows whether we love and trust God more than anything or anyone else. Long ago, Jesus (perhaps pointing at the fish that Peter and John and the others had just caught in their fishing nets) asked Peter on the shores of the Dead Sea, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15). The Savior was asking Peter if he truly loved the Savior more than the things of the world, including food, fish, and the income the fish would produce to a fisherman. Peter replied three times to that repeated question that he did love the Savior more than anything else. I hope that, like Peter, we would answer the Lord that we do love Him above all else. And I hope that, like Peter did from that day on, our choices show Him that our love and trust are true.
Of the Israelites who did not live the law of the tithe, the Lord said: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8–9). If the boy in the above story had not returned the things he stole, he would have been cursed to live the ways of the world and become a thief. By showing through his choice that he loved and trusted his father more than anything, he made it possible to receive the help his father had promised him throughout the journey.
Just like the father in this story, our Heavenly Father has promised to provide us with all of the help we need to succeed in our mortal journey—but only if we show Him by the choices we make that we love and trust Him more than anything else. Said the Lord: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, . . . 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” (Malachi 3:10). To open the windows of heaven is to bless us spiritually, to increase our capacity, to give us the opportunity to become self-reliant, and to make us equal to the opportunity.
Tithing is one of the most important tests we face on our mortal journey because choosing to live that law makes such a difference in our lives and in the lives of our posterity. If by paying tithing we prove ourselves to Him, He will pour out a blessing that there is not room enough to receive it. This of course includes opening the doors of the temple, where heaven and earth intersect and where the blessings of eternity are made possible.
When we consider worlds without end, righteous posterity as the sands of the sea, we can begin to understand what it means to receive blessings so great that there is not room enough to receive them. One cannot receive these blessings without receiving the ordinances of the temple and keeping the associated covenants. And no one can develop the faith necessary to receive the blessings of the temple until they live the law of the tithe.
In addition to these wonderful eternal blessings, the Lord promises: “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:11–12). Those who live the law of the tithe will find themselves protected and watched over. They will be blessed to have what they need. They will be given opportunity to become self-reliant and the power to do it!
While recently traveling on the Africa continent, President Russell M. Nelson stated: “We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation. That same poverty continues from generation to another, until people pay their tithing.” It is living the law of tithing that will break the cycle of poverty. Those who live this law will join the millions of faithful members of the Church who bear solemn and joyous testimony that the Lord keeps His promises to those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Brother Dalebe Martin Goury of Nigeria shares the following personal experience:
“In April 1993, I was a new convert to the Church, living in a foreign country, working every hour possible while attending university. I was studying mechanical engineering. Having been taught the law of tithing, I started paying a full and honest tithe from the day I received the lesson. I had been a member of the Church for three weeks when we were asked to come to our courses with a programmable engineering calculator. With my little resources, I realized that I needed to save a certain amount each week for 12 weeks without paying my tithing to be able to afford the materials required. If I did not purchase them, I would struggle to be on the same level as other student.
“Usually, I would give my tithing envelope to the bishop or to any of his counsellors as soon as I arrived at the chapel, but that Sunday I kept the envelope till the end—as I was debating what to do. I was so tempted to return home with the tithing money and start saving. As my mind was racing with what to do at the end of the third hours, I receive this strong feeling that I had made a covenant. I felt overwhelmed by the feeling and went to the bishop’s office and handed in my tithing envelope. I never explained why I was late handing in my tithing this time. Then I went home.
“The following week, my resolve was strong this time and I handed in my tithing as soon as I arrived at the chapel. The following Sunday, I did the same thing. Even though things were a bit difficult at the university, I was happy and peaceful because I had paid a full and honest tithe every week.
“At the end of the second week, the first counsellor of the bishopric, who studied engineering, requested to see me. I do not know how he knew that I was in a desperate need of a programmable calculator. However, these were his words: ‘I heard you are doing a degree in mechanical engineering. I completed an engineering degree a few years ago and still have the calculator I had to purchase. I no longer have need of it. Would you like it?’
“When he brought the calculator out, I noticed that it was 10 times better than the one I would have purchased after 12 weeks of saving money. How did he know my needs? Only my Father in Heaven knew. This confirmed for me the promises of the Lord in Malachi 3:10.”
Brother Goury passed the test of whether he loved and trusted our Father in Heaven over all other things. He did this by living the law of the tithe when it seemed that doing so would frustrate his goals. After some patience and persistence in obeying the commandment, he received help sent by our loving Heavenly Father. Those who follow Brother Goury’s example will learn by their own experience that “if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them” (1 Nephi 17:3).
I express the deep and abiding love I feel for you, and more importantly, I share my witness of the eternal and abiding love that our Father in Heaven and His Son have for you. The blessings promised will be yours if you obey the commandment with patience and persistence. The windows of heaven will be opened, blessings without number will be poured out, and you will be watched over by a loving Father so that, after a trial of your faith (see Ether 12:6), you will have what you need to become self-reliant. What is more, your children will be strengthened in their faith, and your righteous posterity will call you blessed forever.