Tithing and Pizza
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“Tithing and Pizza,” New Era, July 1981, 44

Tithing and Pizza

We stopped at a pizza parlor on the way home from the priesthood session of general conference when I was 15 years old, and as a result I learned a lesson about tithing that I will never forget.

My father, my two brothers, and I were hungry. As we waited for our order, I saw one of my friends working as a busboy. I asked him how he got the job, and he told me they still needed extra help. A few minutes later he came back and told me that the manager would interview me immediately. Perhaps it was because I was wearing a dress shirt and a tie, but the employer seemed impressed. The interview went well. I expressed my wish not to work on Sundays, and he said there would be no problem—plenty of people would cover for me. I was hired to begin work as soon as I could.

During the next two years, I gradually worked my way up to the position of pizza cook. Then one evening as I began my shift, I noticed one of my scheduled days had been taken off the calendar. My boss told me that if I wanted to work the regular number of hours, Sunday was open. I worked one Sunday and felt rotten about it, so I declined to work on the Sabbath from then on. My relations with my employer started to deteriorate, and I began to look for another job.

It was interesting that although I was fairly adamant about keeping the Sabbath day holy, I was lax in obeying another commandment—the law of tithing. I didn’t pay tithing at all, unless my parents prompted me. Then I’d say, “Sure, sure,” and put something in the envelope the next week. I just couldn’t see the sense in giving away one-tenth of my hard-earned money.

I kept searching for a job but with no results. I prayed to my Father in Heaven sincerely, confident that he would help me find employment. One evening while praying, a thought came to me. Why should the Lord help me find another job if I wasn’t paying tithing on the income from my current job?

I studied a couple of scriptures:

“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” (Mal. 3:10).

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10).

I decided to obey the commandment. I went to the bank and secured a large sum of money from my savings account to catch up on the tithing I had missed. I took it over to the bishop’s house that very evening.

In my pursuit of better employment, I had applied for work in a muffler shop. This was in January, and they said they wouldn’t need any additional help until the following December. Two days after I paid my tithing, someone from the shop telephoned with an offer for me to start work the next day. By the time I left on my mission, I was making three times as much money as I had made cooking pizza, plus a handsome commission. I was able to finance half of the expense of my mission by myself. Furthermore, after I had been in the mission field about a year, my employer from the muffler shop called my parents and asked if he could help pay the rest of my mission expenses.

Some might say that all these things happened coincidentally. I would be inclined to say that I was blessed because I finally started living a gospel principle. Tithing opens a door to blessings from the Lord.

Photos by Jon Lockwood