If you are like many people, you might find yourself asking this question, "Where does all of my money go each month??" Well, I can at least account for where 10% of our money goes, because we use it to pay tithing, which the church then uses to pay for charitable needs at home and to help people devastated by natural disasters around the world. It also pays for church buildings and temples and for the support of leaders whose church callings require them to work and travel full-time for the church. I feel confident that no one is getting rich off of the tithing program--but we all benefit from it, the church and the world as a whole.
Ten percent of your income (before taxes) might seem like a lot, I guess, but I have always felt good about paying tithing. In all honesty, I have always thought that it was much easier to pay tithing when I wasn't making much money at all...It was easier to let it go then, and I guess I felt that I really desperately needed all of the blessings associated with paying tithing!
In these economically difficult times, we have been admonished to continue paying tithing. In 1936, at the height of the Great Depression in the United States, when people were struggling to make ends meet, Elder John A. Widtsoe admonished the Saints to pay their tithing because of the spiritual blessings they would receive. He said: “Obedience to the law of tithing … brings a deep, inward joy … that can be won in no other way. … The principles of truth become clearer. … Prayer becomes easier. … The spiritual sense is sharpened [and] … man becomes more like his Father in Heaven.
In Malachi, we read that when we faithfully pay our tithes the Lord will "open the windows of heaven" and pour out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it. I have found from my own experience that this is true. Paying tithing gives me the rare opportunity to let go of the world and of possessions that are not necessary for my true happiness. I get to show my love for the Lord and for my brothers and sisters as I sacrifice my wants for the needs of others.
Because of the willingness of members of the church to pay a full tithe, the Church is able to do a great work around the world. They are most often the first to send food, first aid, and medical supplies into areas devastated by natural disasters, because of funds available through tithing and the Bishop's Storehouse which stock supplies for such events. Just recently, the church sent medical supplies to help victims of the cyclone in Myanmar. The church teamed up with CARE International and UPS to get the supplies into the country...a feat that was only possible because of CARE's long-term work in the area. Myanmar hasn't been letting others send aid in as you might know.
I believe in paying a full tithe, so I will keep on doing it, even if I have just 10 cents to my name! President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “While tithing is paid with money, more importantly it is paid with faith." Given that every good thing that I have has come from the Lord, I'm ok with giving a little bit back! On Monday, during our Family Night, we taught our young children about paying tithing. (See the picture above.) G and S enjoyed putting pennies into each jar! I guess you've gotta start somewhere!
Here is some more information about Tithing, how it works and where the money goes:
Tithing: A Commandment Even For the Destitute by Lynn G. Robbins
Will A Man Rob God? by Elder Kikuchi
Church Welfare, Humanitarian Programs Draw Attention