I went home teaching with the Victorias First Ward Elders Quorum President, Roly Villasis, today. We visited a very sweet girl named Ginalyn Aquino Guillen Villasis. She is married to John Henry Villasis, the nephew of President Villasis. She is going to have a baby soon.
The lesson we shared was the First Presidency Message for October 2016, from the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. The message is titled: The Blessings of Obedience (see the October 2016 issue of Liahona).
At the end of the lesson we asked a question suggested by President Monson:
“Consider asking those you teach how they’ve been blessed by keeping commandments.”
Ginalyn shared her testimony of the blessings of paying a full tithing. She shared with us that when she pays tithing, she can see the blessings that come to her from the Lord.
What touched my heart and so deeply impressed me was that, of all the experiences she could have mentioned, she chose to share her experience about obeying the law of tithing. The timing was perfect.
She did not proceed to name all the material blessings associated with paying a full tithe. She simply explained that she could see how the Lord blesses her when she pays tithing (See Elder David A. Bednar’s October 2013 general conference talk, The Windows of Heaven).
I said to her, “Oh, you dear child, I know you were inspired to share your experience about tithing. I wish you could share that with the whole world.” (see Alma 29:1-3)
You see, there is something Heavenly Father knows, something Ginalyn may not have known: We seem to have a challenge in our stake regarding the law of tithing. Many members have some difficulty consistently paying a full tithe. This challenge seems to affect rich and poor alike. It seems to affect many who are otherwise active in the Church, as well as many who are less active.
Please understand, it is not my intention to criticize anyone in any way. I do not, and should not, know the names of specific members who may be struggling with the law of tithing. That is personal, and it is between each individual, the Lord, and the bishop.
I cannot judge anyone. We all have individual challenges regarding one commandment or another at different times in our lives. We need to love and forgive each other and encourage each other to try harder and never give up (see 1 Nephi 3:7 and 1 Nephi 17:3).
President Renato Sipe, second counselor in our Stake Presidency (Cadiz Philippines Stake), reminded us this morning in sacrament meeting about something the Prophet Joseph Smith once explained:
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (See The Guide to the Scriptures: Sacrifice)
There is something uniquely powerful about the law of tithing. I know from personal experience, and from the workings of the Holy Ghost in my life, that obeying the law of tithing enables Heavenly Father to strengthen our faith to keep the other commandments, which in turn bring even more blessings (see Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21 and 82:10).
While we may not yet be perfect in keeping every commandment all the time, or in overcoming every temptation that comes upon us, we can resolve today to be perfect tithe payers. And then we will, little by little, improve our capacity and our desire to consistently obey the Lord in all things, and we will become perfected in Christ (see 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48; 1 Kings 8:61).
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