Tithing's blessings vital today

In promising plentiful blessings to those who live the law of tithing, the Lord pledges that He will "rebuke the devourer" for the sake of those who obey the law. (See Malachi 3:11.)

With recent reports of stock market free-falls and high bankruptcy rates, such a promise seems as vital today as ever.

Perhaps that is one reason why God's servants have repeatedly warned Church members about the need to avoid debt and reduce debt. Often, in their desperation, those who have subjected themselves to unmanageable debt worsen their situation by discontinuing the payment of tithes, thus rendering themselves ineligible for the blessings the Lord has promised.

"Everything that God gives us is lawful and right," wrote the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1842, "and it is proper that we should enjoy His gifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon those same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness — and the happiness of all His creatures, He never has — He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of His law and ordinances." (History of the Church 5:256-257.)

When individuals disregard the counsel of Church leaders and fail to live within their means, this statement from the Prophet may have application: they seize upon blessings in the form of material possessions before the Lord is disposed to grant them. Those items then prove to be "cursings and vexations" by hampering the individuals in living the law of tithing.

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