An honest tithe

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

— Mark 12:41-44

These few verses from the New Testament portray qualities of humility, obedience, sacrifice and faith. We would be well served to reflect on this simple passage of scripture when we take the opportunity to meet with our bishops in tithing settlement. The biblical story of the widow and her mites has a simple message: The Lord is not concerned with the amount of money we "cast into the treasury." The amount we pay as tithing is immaterial as long as we are honest with the Lord. No matter how small, an honest offering from the poorest of the poor is as acceptable as a large sum contributed by the most wealthy.

Paying our tithes is one of the greatest blessings the Lord has given us. It is a privilege for us to add our offerings, whether small or great, to the building of the Lord's kingdom and the carrying forth of His work and will. When we pay our tithes and donate other offerings we, in essence, join in a partnership with the Lord. What a tremendous privilege and blessing!

The commandment to tithe was instituted in the earliest of times, as is evident in Old Testament accounts. Never rescinded, this commandment is vital today. The Lord declared that this dispensation is "a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people." (Doctrine and Covenants 64:23.)

Obedience to the law of tithing is a measure faith, not wealth. For the most part, obedience to this law has little to do with money. At the April 1990 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley said: "The payment of tithing is simply a faithful response to a commandment of the Lord. It is a mark of obedience to the divine will. Furthermore, long observation has shown that the faithful and honest payment of tithing is an indicator of faithfulness in other matters."

We often hear of Church members for whom keeping the law of tithing was a trial of faith. One of those accounts centers on a young couple who, years ago, immigrated to a new country in search of a better way of life. Soon they met missionaries, learned of the gospel and joined the Church. They committed themselves to keeping all of the Lord's commandments, but they faced a challenge when it came to paying tithing. "The first mention of tithing shocked me," the husband said of that earlier time. "I didn't make much money, but I made up my mind that the Lord would take care of us if we would keep His commandments."

The wife said, "I remember sitting on the bed, because that was the only furniture we had to sit on, and counting pennies to buy groceries. I couldn't see why we had to give 10 percent to the Lord when we had so little money in the beginning. But [my husband] said to do it, and to have faith."

The couple exercised faith and paid an honest tithing. They acknowledged that they were blessed. (Church News, Aug. 3, 1974.)

We understand that the law of tithing is a commandment with a promise. Obedience brings blessings. We ought to remember that those blessings come in many forms; not all pertain to that which is material or financial.

From time to time, members of the Church inquire as to what is considered a proper tithe. Latter-day revelation directs that members " . . . shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord." (Doctrine and Covenants 119:4.)

At the October 1980 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball, in speaking of tithing, said: "At times when we are inclined to think it is vain to serve the Lord, we should stir our faith, believe in the rich promises of God, and obey — and patiently wait. The Lord will fulfill all His rich promises to us. Paul says, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' " (1 Corinthians 2:9.)

As year's end approaches and we attend tithing settlement, may we "stir our faith" so that we will be honest with the Lord.