Blessings that come from paying a tithe are sometimes obvious, but more often I believe they are a lot less obvious. Thanks to Elder Bednar for reminding us of that this last October. There is no promise that we will not have financial trials, nor escape the worries that come with living in such a cash worshiping society. The promise is that when we trust in God we will not be left in bondage nor will we be left alone once all is said and done.
My little observation for today is something that I believe is a testimony to that. Long story short, both my husband and myself had a few unpaid weeks in December. It was a little unsettling and more than a little tight, but not catastrophic. We had been able to prepare Christmas early, and just needed to hold on until January. During that time our dishwasher went out. It had already been “fixed” five times that year and was completely finished. I hate doing dishes by hand, and so do my kids, but with no other option and nine people in the home, we did a lot of dishes. The cool part was that before we were able to get back to work in January and start collecting paychecks, we were still able to replace the dishwasher with absolutely no financial sacrifices on our part. I love having a dishwasher again. I know that how we found it, how it was paid for, and the relatively short time we did without were all direct consequences of paying the Lord his portion first.
This morning my husband fixed our dishwasher. An electric component had gone out, and despite him not having any electronics training, he was able to find the $40 part and get it working again. As much as I cringed at the $40, a repair call would have been even more, and a new dishwasher still more. That could have been my daily miracle right there, but then we got to talking.
These last two months have been a little crazy around here. All three cars had a tire blow out. Two cars needed brake jobs. The dishwasher obviously went out. Not only that but our printer died, two vacuums died, the DVD player died, the microwave refused to work, my daughter’s laptop stopped working, and we needed a new couch. A busy few weeks. As we started listing everything that had been going out at the same time, we realized a few things. These last two months we had the money, the time, and the knowledge to take care of everything we needed. Any other two months this year and I don’t think we would have been able to handle it as well.
Not everything just had money to throw at fixing it. Bought one new tire, two used. Did one brake job ourselves with some help, and have an appointment in a few days for the last brake job with a friend. Husband was able to fix the dishwasher. Brother in law was able to fix the computer. Vacuum was under warranty, and a friend gave us a loaner until it is back. Microwave and DVD started working again on their own. Found a great couch at a yard sale, and the business had some extra money for the printer. I think what happened was summed up best by Elder Bednar a few weeks back. Click below to listen to the 17 minute talk from General Conference.
One of my adult daughter’s favorite conference talks was a talk on tithing. I can understand why because she lives it so beautifully. Elder Bednar talked about the small, subtle blessings that come from paying our tithing. I know we have had more countless little blessings than we can count. I think both my adult daughter and myself understand what was meant by the blessings of gratitude that often accompany the payment of tithing. I have seen that gratitude and those blessings work together to deliver to us enjoyment of many of the better things of life. Despite the pitiful numbers reported on our IRS forms at the end of the year, and our larger than average family size, one example that comes to mind is how we have found ways to send our children to college without any student debt.
My daughter especially has seen this blessing as she has attended school away from home. Doors are opened. She is well aware that most of her fellow students, and even roommates simply could not get by on what she has to get by on. She does have to be more frugal, but she has sufficient. I’d like to share two examples of how her faithfulness has inspired me.
As she was preparing to go to back school this year she knew she would need to get a part time student job just to be able to eat this year. (She could easily have opted for a small student loan instead, but we share a goal of no student debt.) In the past that idea has been overwhelming. A few weeks before she was able to move into her apartment she began searching for possible campus jobs. She became inspired that she may need to go to campus much earlier than she had planned on. As she was making preparations to do so, she was called and asked to schedule an interview from an application she was pretty sure she had not even finished submitting. Thanks to her faith and humility, everything fell into place. She was offered a job that was ideal for her situation, and is living frugally, but without fear of not having the money she needs.
Last week she was invited to be a part of a group date. She is a wonderful cook and offered to provide the food for the meal part of the activity. They could easily have just expected the guys to buy some food or stop somewhere, but didn’t. She made homemade pizza “from scratch.” From what I hear it went over very well. I know she loves to make her own pizzas, and they are not only delicious, but much healthier. She will someday make a wonderful companion to some lucky young man who loves being wise with his money, loves staying healthy, and loves pizza! No one said being careful with your money couldn’t be fun and good for you. I think Shanna is learning that.
Just wanted to share a few examples of the principles in action that were so beautifully covered by Elder Bednar.