Dec 22, 2013

The Windows of Heaven

By Elder David A. Bednar
This talk was a two-part talk on the law of tithing.  The first part focuses on the blessings that come as we faithfully obey this law.  The second part focuses on kind of the financial side of the Church and what are tithing is used for.

Part 1:
"Often as we teach and testify about the law of tithing, we emphasize the immediate, dramatic, and readily recognizable temporal blessings that we receive.  And surely such blessings do occur.  yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle."

"As we live the law of tithing, we often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked."

In the 30+ years of lessons on tithing the only examples I can remember the teachers giving are the classic, 'we needed money, we paid our tithing, the money came.'  I grew up thinking tithing = financial blessings.  It wasn't until I heard this talk in conference that I learned other-wise, the blessings from paying your tithing do not have to be only financial.  I don't know how I've missed this.  
I teach the Valiant 9 class in Primary.  Last week the lesson was on Tithing (how fitting).  Part of the lesson said this:  Help the children understand that the blessings we receive from paying tithing are not always financial. . . paying tithing can help us obtain these blessings - 

  •  an
    understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ
  •  a s
    trong testimony
  •  f
    eelings of closeness to Heavenly Father
  •  s
    trength to live the gospel
  •  a
    bility to be a good example to our families
  •  p
    eace and joy
  •  the a
    bility to serve others unselfishly
Elder Bednar tells us "such blessings can be discerned only if we are both spiritually attentive and observant".  He then goes on to list examples of some of the subtle but significant blessings we might receive.
  • The gift of gratitude that enables our appreciation for what we have to constrain desires for what we want.
  • The gift of enhanced discernment that can empower us to identify job opportunities that many other people might overlook.
  • The blessing of greater personal determination to search harder and longer for a position than other people may be able or willing to do.  
  • A greater capacity to act and change our own circumstances rather than expecting our circumstances to be changed by someone or something else.
  • An increased spiritual and temporal capacity to do more with less
  • A keener ability to prioritize and simplify
  • The ability to take proper care of the material possessions we already have acquired.
  • physical and mental stamina
  • enlarged perspective
  • increased patience
  • conviction and confidence to achieve worthy goals
  • an increase in our resolve and resilience.
"As we are spiritually attentive and observant, we will be blessed with eyes that see more clearly, ears that hear more consistently, and hearts that understand more fully the significance and subtly of His ways, His thoughts, and His blessings in our lives."
"An honest payment of tithing is much more than a duty; it is an important step in the process of personal sanctification."

My favorite blessing:
"Spiritual illumination and perspective are poured out through the windows of heaven and into our lives as we honor the law of tithing."
Who doesn't need/want spiritual enlightenment and a heavenly perspective?  I know I do.
Part 2
  • "These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposed as directed by the Lord's ordained servants."
  • Elder Bednar then goes on to tell us two important principles of finance the Church follows.  You'll notice these principles apply to us as well.
  • 1.  "The Church lives withing its means and does not spend more than it receives."
  • We too have been taught to live within our means and to not spend more than we make.
  • 2.  "A portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs.  For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise.  The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members."
  • It's nice to know they practice what they preach!
Next Week's Talk:
President Henry B. Eyring