In a world filled with challenges and uncertainties, Elder Neil L. Andersen, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shares a powerful message about the divine principle of tithing. Drawing from real-life experiences, Elder Andersen emphasizes the spiritual and temporal blessings that come from paying an honest tithe.
Opening Story: The Miracle in Venezuela: Elder Andersen shares a touching story from Brother Roger Parra in Venezuela. Amidst chaos and looting during a power blackout, Brother Parra’s bakery remained miraculously untouched. His 12-year-old son attributed this protection to the family’s faithful payment of tithing, echoing the words of Malachi that promise protection from destruction for those who honor the law of tithing.
The Principle of Tithing: A Matter of Faith: Elder Andersen emphasizes that tithing is not merely a financial obligation but a matter of faith. It is an expression of trust in the Lord, demonstrating a willingness to put Him first above personal concerns. The Lord promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings when individuals are honest in their tithing. The blessings, both temporal and spiritual, may come in subtle ways, reinforcing the importance of trusting in the Lord’s timing.
Stewardship of Sacred Funds: Highlighting the sacred nature of tithing, Elder Andersen clarifies that these funds do not belong to Church leaders but to the Lord. Leaders are accountable to the Lord for their stewardship. Elder Andersen shares a childhood experience of President Gordon B. Hinckley, emphasizing that once tithes are paid, they belong to the Lord, and His servants manage them with utmost care.
Impact of Tithing Worldwide: Elder Andersen acknowledges the generous tithes and offerings of Church members, revealing that over a billion US dollars were used to bless those in need. Tithing supports missionary work, temple construction, educational institutions, and humanitarian efforts globally. The message underscores the interconnectedness of faithful tithing and the ability to spread the gospel, build temples, and establish the Church in diverse locations.
Blessings Beyond Material Wealth: Through anecdotes like Charlotte Hlimi’s story, Elder Andersen illustrates that the power of tithing transcends material wealth. The faithful, regardless of economic circumstances, are commanded to contribute 10 percent of their income. The true power lies in placing trust in the Lord, with the added abundance strengthening the reserves of the Church for future purposes known only to Him.
Facing Challenges with Faith: Elder Andersen encourages members to face challenges with faith, citing the example of Saints who, after following Elder Henry B. Eyring’s counsel on tithing, found their desires for material possessions diminished during a financial downturn. The message is clear – blessings come to those who trust in the Lord and faithfully pay their tithes.
God’s Work Continues: Elder Andersen affirms that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is part of God’s important work on earth. Despite opposition, the Church will continue to flourish and prepare for the Savior’s return. Members are urged to embrace their role in this divine work, and Elder Andersen bears witness to the imminent manifestations of the Savior’s power in the days to come.
Elder Neil L. Andersen’s message on tithing is a call to faith, emphasizing that as individuals trust in the Lord and honor the principle of tithing, they open themselves to a multitude of blessings that extend far beyond financial abundance.
10 open-ended questions for introspective consideration:
- How does the story of Brother Roger Parra’s bakery in Venezuela impact your perspective on the divine protection associated with paying tithing?
- In what ways do you currently view tithing – as a financial obligation or as a matter of faith? How might your perspective influence your commitment to this principle?
- Reflect on a time when you faced challenges or uncertainties. Did your faith and trust in the Lord’s timing play a role in the outcomes?
- Considering the stewardship of sacred funds, how does knowing that tithing belongs to the Lord influence your understanding of Church leaders’ responsibility in managing these resources?
- Can you recall a personal experience where you witnessed the blessings of tithing, either in your life or the lives of those around you? How did it impact your faith?
- In what ways do you believe your generous tithes and offerings contribute to the global efforts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as missionary work, temple construction, and humanitarian aid?
- Reflect on the concept of trusting in the Lord’s timing for blessings. Are there areas of your life where you struggle with patience and trusting that blessings will come in due course?
- How does the principle of tithing extend beyond financial wealth, as illustrated by anecdotes like Charlotte Hlimi’s story? How has the spiritual power of tithing manifested in your life?
- Consider Elder Andersen’s encouragement to face challenges with faith. How can the experiences shared in the article influence your approach to difficulties and uncertainties in your own life?
- Reflect on your role in God’s important work on earth, as mentioned in the conclusion. How do you envision contributing to the ongoing spread of the gospel and the establishment of the Church, and what role does faithful tithing play in this vision?
Potential Lesson Outline:
“Tithing: Opening the Windows of Heaven”
Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the principles of tithing as taught by Elder Neil L. Andersen, exploring its spiritual significance and the blessings associated with faithful adherence.
Duration: 60 minutes
Introduction (10 minutes):
Begin with a brief overview of the importance of tithing in religious and personal contexts.
Share the story of Brother Roger Parra’s bakery in Venezuela as a real-life illustration of the blessings of paying tithing.
Ask participants to reflect on instances where they have witnessed or experienced unexpected blessings.
Discussion on Tithing and Faith (15 minutes):
Read selected quotes from Elder Andersen’s address emphasizing the spiritual nature of tithing.
Discuss the concept that tithing is not solely about money but is a matter of faith and trust in the Lord.
Encourage participants to share personal experiences or insights related to how tithing has strengthened their faith.
Open-Ended Questions (15 minutes):
How does the story of Brother Parra’s bakery highlight the role of faith in the principle of tithing?
In what ways have you personally seen the windows of heaven open through faithful adherence to tithing?
Reflect on Elder Andersen’s statement, “Being honest in our tithes is one way we show our willingness to put the Lord first in our lives.” How can this perspective influence daily decisions?
How does the promise to “open the windows of heaven” relate to both temporal and spiritual blessings?
Share instances where you observed individuals facing challenges with faith and experiencing blessings as a result of paying an honest tithe.
Scriptural References and Quotes (10 minutes):
Explore relevant scriptures on tithing, such as Malachi 3:11, and discuss their application in today’s context.
Share additional quotes from Elder Andersen or other Church leaders that emphasize the principles discussed.
Tithing in Action (5 minutes):
Briefly discuss the impact of tithing on humanitarian efforts and Church initiatives globally.
Highlight specific projects or donations made possible through tithing contributions, like the recent 54 million US dollars donated for relief efforts.
Q&A and Sharing Personal Stories (5 minutes):
Open the floor for participants to ask questions or share their personal stories related to tithing.
Encourage a discussion on how tithing has affected different aspects of participants’ lives.
Conclusion and Testimony (5 minutes):
Summarize key takeaways from the discussion.
Conclude with a testimony from the instructor or invite participants to share their testimonies of the blessings of tithing.
Express gratitude for the principles taught by Elder Andersen and the blessings associated with faithful tithing.
Note: Adapt the time allocation based on the group’s dynamics and preferences. Encourage an open and respectful environment for sharing personal experiences.