Reg Christensen lives in the Midwest with his wife, Carol. They have seven children and seventeen grandchildren. Reg has fulfilled a variety of callings in the Church and he and Carol have been blessed with many service opportunities as Pathway missionaries and service volunteers at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, to mention a few. While living in Jerusalem, they served in the Bethlehem branch, Carol as the Relief Society president and Reg as the branch president. His happy times come from being with family and friends, reading, writing, woodworking, leathercrafting, exploring nature, and blessing lives with his handyman skills. He has published several books, including Unlocking Isaiah: Lessons and Insights that Draw Us to the Savior.

Enter Reg…

The law of tithing is an important part of our Heavenly Parents’ system of meeting the material and spiritual needs of Their children, while also providing for the establishment and expansion of Their kingdom throughout the earth.

I will first give a brief doctrinal overview of this important law and will then discuss the blessings that come to us as we live the law of tithing.

The Doctrine of the Law of Tithing

President Howard W. Hunter gave us a down-to-earth and easily understandable definition of the law of tithing:

“The law is simply stated as “one-tenth of all their interest.” Interest means profit, compensation, increase. It is the wage of one employed, the profit from the operation of a business, the increase of one who grows or produces, or the income to a person from any other source. The Lord said it is a standing law “forever” as it has been in the past.” (Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, pg. 105)

The law of tithing has been an important aspect of our mortal realm since the beginning. From the Old Testament we learn that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek,

“And he gave him tithes of all.” Genesis 14:20.

Jacob covenanted to

“give the tenth unto [the Lord].” Genesis 28:22.

Moses commanded the Israelites,

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30.

In the closing book of the Old Testament, Malachi posed a solemn question and dilemma to ancient Israel,

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.” Malachi 3:8

He then revealed the specific way they had “robbed” Him and offered them the corrective action for their neglect:

“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. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” Malachi 3:8-9

In our modern day, the Lord reaffirmed the law of tithing, followed by an intriguing promise:

“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” Doctrine and Covenants 64:23.

People occasionally jest that the payment of tithing is as fire insurance based on this promise that those who so pay “shall not be burned at his coming.” Generally, people who consistently live the law of tithing are striving to do the other things the Lord has asked of them as well. Their protection from destruction, even if by fire, stems from their cumulative efforts to live a Christlike life.

A Barometer of Dedication and Faith

Many years ago I served as the executive secretary to our stake president, and during our many meetings, I was seated near a credenza where, among other things, we secured confidential records. Whenever an individual was being considered to be called to a major position, the stake president would nod to me to hand him the binder containing the five-year tithing record for members of the stake.

He would consider the record, which would then have an important bearing upon whether the person would be called to the position. The president was not using this record as a hard and fast rule but rather as a helpful tool as part of the decision. It was a barometer of their dedication. In modern scripture, we read of tithing as an important commandment.

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed 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.

More Than Money – An Act of Faith

I have been intrigued through the years by my observations of how people respond to the law of tithing. And although this is a matter between the individual and the Lord, in a general sense, I believe that those who consider only the monetary aspects of tithing struggle with living the law.

For me, it is a simple matter. Our Heavenly Parents created us, our earth, and all that we have for our provision. They have given us all things in abundance and simply ask that we return one-tenth to Them for Their purposes.

When people consider payment of tithing only in dollars and cents, they find themselves short of being able to live the law. But those who look at the law as an act of faith are blessed to consistently live the law throughout their lives.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught,

“While tithing is paid with money, more importantly it is paid with faith.”

Another time he said:

“This is not so much a matter of money as it is a matter of faith. . . I urge you . . . to take the Lord at His word in this important matter.”

Promises and Blessings of Keeping the Law of Tithing

To the doubting Jews in the temple, Jesus proclaimed a bold challenge that they could employ to determine the verity of His directives:

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17.

Doing is the key to testimony.

We may study and theorize to no limit and still not come to believe a principle. When we do it—when we apply it in our lives—then we may know the truth.

I have had a testimony of the law of tithing for over sixty years and am grateful to have been taught this doctrine as a young boy. Since that time, through times of scarcity and of plenty, I have kept this law. From so doing, my testimony is certain that the promises of the Lord are real and true—He keeps His word and blesses us for our obedience.

Now in the twilight of my life, I look back and forward with gratitude for the law of tithing, knowing with absolute certainty that the Lord has richly blessed me and my family from living this law and that He will continue to do so. After Malachi’s firm rebuke of ancient Israel concerning the law of tithing, he proclaimed a great blessing:

“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.

“Open you the windows of heaven”—what a marvelous and boundless blessing! And it may involve material, tangible things, but the greater aspect is that He grants us revelation and wisdom. He inspires us in our decisions to choose the things that will bless our lives and the lives of those we love.

Elder David A. Bednar taught,

“The imagery of the ‘windows’ of heaven used by Malachi is most instructive. Windows allow natural light to enter into a building. In like manner, spiritual illumination and perspective are poured out through the windows of heaven and into our lives as we honor the law of tithing.”

President Harold B. Lee said,

“By tithing, a principle enunciated in former dispensations as attested by the scriptures and reaffirmed by modern revelations; the promise following obedience to this principle is that the windows of heaven would be open and blessings would be poured out that we would hardly be able to contain. The opening of the windows of heaven, of course, means revelations from God to him who is willing thus to sacrifice.”

The Unique Windows of Heaven

Another blessing in my life is a general lack of desire to acquire something just because someone else has one. There is an old saying, “Keeping up with the Joneses,” that depicts this very thing—trying to live a lifestyle like those around us, even though it is economically not practical. And of course, I have, at times, made foolish economic decisions, as I suppose we all do. But generally, I have guarded and preserved my resources.

I feel that a blessing Heavenly Parents have given me from paying tithing is one of gratitude and contentment with, for example, living in a smaller house and driving an older vehicle. I do not begrudge others their honest acquisitions—we each have our agency to pursue our own lifestyle. But folly comes in cases where false pride, greed, and dishonesty become the driving forces of acquisition.

Elder Dallin Oaks, in discussing the Savior’s parable of a man who acquired so much that he had to build bigger barns to store everything (see Luke 12:16-21), stated,

“A modern illustration of that principle is suggested in the apocryphal story of two men standing before the casket of a wealthy friend. Asked one, “How much property did he leave?” Replied the other, “He left all of it.”

A real blessing of paying tithing is development of gratitude for the basic provisions of life that our Heavenly Parents grant us.

Years ago, I developed a personal motto that has blessed my life: “A bargain is something that I really need and that I can afford to pay cash for.”

I ascribe the inspiration for this personal motto as a blessing from paying tithing. It has saved me from many foolish purchases.

Tithing Applies to All Members

The law of tithing applies to all members of the Lord’s Church—rich and poor. We may wonder at times why the encouragement for the payment of tithes is given to those who struggle just to meet their daily needs of food and shelter.

Such encouragement may make no sense to worldly reason, but remember, this is a heavenly law given by a God who operates on a higher plain and with eternal insight.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9.

The Lord’s system for lifting people from their poverty is to invite them to elevate their faith through the payment of tithes. He then opens the windows of heaven to them and helps them rise to a better life.

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to a group of struggling saints:

“I have wept as I have seen the poverty and the suffering of the people in this part of the earth. My heart reaches out to them. I do not know what the solution is, except the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it is the only thing that will help them and bless their lives. If they, even living in poverty and misery, can look to God with hope and faith it will sustain them in their hours of sorrow. Furthermore, I believe with all my heart that if they will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, the Lord will keep His ancient promise in their behalf, and they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads. I do not see any other solution. They need a power greater than any earthly power to lift them and help them. (Missionary meeting, Philippines Cebu Mission, June 1, 1996).”

Our Heavenly Parents are aware of our economic needs and righteous desires and stand willing to bless us in all things. I remember a time when our children and our financial budget were small. My wife came to me discouraged that she did not have enough money to do what she wanted for the children at Christmas time. As we discussed the matter, I felt impressed to write her a check for $1,000 and asked her to hold it for a few days until we could figure out how to cover it. The very next day, I received a call from the owner of an office suite to whom I had offered a bid for new flooring several months earlier. Since I had not heard back from him, I assumed that he had accepted a bid from someone else. He gave me a down payment and wanted me to proceed immediately. My profit from the job was just over $1,000.

Real Prosperity

President Heber J. Grant taught,

“Prosperity comes to those who observe the law of tithing. When I say prosperity I am not thinking of it in terms of dollars and cents alone. . . What I count as real prosperity . . . is the growth in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same. That is prosperity of the truest kind.”

I am not suggesting that God has appointed me some “tithing angel” who keeps a ledger of our donations and sits at the ready to pull a lever that grants us a blessing exactly commensurate with our tithe.

When I pay $100 in tithing, I do not expect a $100 bill to miraculously float through my car window. (Although, the nearly exact match of the needed Christmas money to my flooring contract was impressive and gave me pause.)

I have known skeptics who would classify what I call blessings from paying tithing as mere coincidences. For me, it is a non-issue. I make no attempt at keeping a balance sheet to match Heavenly Parents’ blessings to my donations; if I were to do so, I would need eternal reams of paper to record Their side of the ledger. I just know that I have always paid my tithing and that They have always blessed me.

We live in a comfortable home and have never gone hungry. We have been able to travel to some impressive parts of the world and have been privileged to serve and teach others the principles of the gospel that we hold so dear. I am blessed with a great wife and family and so much more. My blessings are endless, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

The Token of Tithing

Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi taught,

“It is a matter of commitment. The earth belongs to the Lord, and this includes our own lives. He allows us to use everything on this earth. He only asks us to return one-tenth. Tithing is a token of gratitude, obedience, and thanksgiving—a token of our willingness and dedication. Paying tithing, willingly, develops an honest and pure heart. Paying tithing increases our love for the Lord.”

My sincere desire for you and for everyone is that we will experience the joy and peace of living the laws of God and thereby having the windows of heaven opened and eternal blessings poured out upon us—more than we can now imagine.

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