Each member of the church is asked to contribute ten percent of his increase, as commanded in the Bible. Thomas S. Monson shares favorite stories of people who obeyed the commandment even when it was challenging.
“All of us can afford to pay tithing. In reality, none of us can afford not to pay tithing. The Lord will strengthen our resolve. He will open a way to comply.
“We live on the edge of a small town, and our neighbor uses our pasture for his cattle and as payment provides us with all the beef we want. Each time we get new meat, we have some of the present supply left over; and since we live in a student ward, we take meat to some students we feel might have use for some good beef.
“My wife had always prayed to know which students might need our help with our excess meat. When she told me she felt we should give some meat to Jack and his family, I was very concerned that we might offend them. So was she. We both were worried because they were a very independent family.
“A few days later, my wife said she still felt we should take the meat to them, and I reluctantly agreed to go along. When we delivered the meat, my wife’s hands were actually shaking, and I was very nervous. The children opened the door, and when they heard why we were there, they began dancing around. The parents were reserved but pleasant. When we drove away, my wife and I both were so relieved and happy that they had accepted our gift.
“A few months later our friend Jack got up in testimony meeting and related the following. He said that all his life he had had a hard time paying tithing. With such a large family, they used all the money he made just to get by. When he became ward clerk, he saw all the other people paying tithing and felt he needed to also. He did so for a couple of months, and all was well. Then one month he had a problem. In his job, he completed work and was paid a few months later. He could see that the family was going to be far short of money. He and his wife decided to share the problem with their children. If they paid their tithing, they would run out of food on about the 20th of the month. If they didn’t pay their tithing, they could buy enough food to last until the next paycheck. Jack said he wanted to buy [the] food, but the children said they wanted to pay tithing-so Jack paid the tithing, and they all prayed.
Thomas S. Monson, “‘Be Thou an Example’,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 44
One who learned well the lesson of obedience was a kind and sincere man of humble means and circumstances. He joined the Church in Europe and, by diligently saving and sacrificing, immigrated to North America, to a new land, a strange language, different customs, but the same Church under the leadership of the same Lord whom he trusted and obeyed. He became the branch president of a little flock of struggling Saints in a somewhat unfriendly city of tens of thousands. He followed the program of the Church, although numbers were few and tasks were many. He set an example for his branch membership that was truly Christlike, and they responded with a love so rarely seen.
He earned a living with his hands as a tradesman. His means were limited, but he always paid more than a tenth of his total earnings as tithing. He started a missionary fund in his little branch, and for months at a time he was the only contributor. When there were missionaries in his city, he fathered and fed them, and they never left his house without some tangible donation to their work and welfare. Church members from far away who passed through his city and visited his branch always received his hospitality and the warmth of his spirit and went on their way knowing they had met an unusual man, one of the Lord’s obedient servants.
…To know that a poor man consistently and cheerfully gave at least twice a tenth to the Lord gave one a clearer insight into the true meaning of tithing. To see him minister to the hungry and take in the stranger made one know that he did it as he would do so to the Master. To pray with him and partake of his confidence of divine intercession was to experience a new medium of communication.
Thomas S. Monson, “Strength through Obedience,” Ensign, Jul 1996, 2
Gustav Wacker was from the old country. He spoke English with a thick accent. He never owned or drove a car. He plied the trade of a barber. The highlight of his day would be when he had the privilege of cutting the hair of a missionary. Never would there be a charge. Indeed, he would reach deep into his pockets and give the missionaries all of his tips for the day. If it were raining, as it often does in Kingston, President Wacker would call a taxi and send the missionaries to their apartment by taxi, while he himself, at day’s end, would lock the small shop and walk home-in the driving rain.
I first met Gustav Wacker when I noticed that his tithing paid was far in excess of that expected from his potential income. My efforts to explain that the Lord required no more than 10 percent as tithing fell on attentive but unconvinced ears. He simply responded that he loved to pay all he could to the Lord. It amounted to about half his income. His dear wife felt exactly as he did. Their unique manner of tithing payment continued throughout their earning lives.
Thomas S. Monson, “Labels,” Ensign, Sep 2000, 2