Thursday, September 22, 2011

General Conference Quotes: Elder Carl B. Pratt - The Lord's Richest Blessings

There is a possibility of misinterpretation in this story from my grandparents. We might conclude that since we pay tithing with money, the Lord will always bless us with money. I tended to think that way as a child. I have since learned it doesn’t necessarily work that way. The Lord promises blessings to those who pay their tithing. He promises to “open … the windows of heaven, and pour … out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). I testify that He fulfills His promises, and if we faithfully pay our tithing, we will not lack for the necessities of life, but He does not promise wealth. Money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. He blesses us with wisdom to manage our limited material resources, wisdom that enables us to live better with 90 percent of our income than with 100 percent. Thus, faithful tithe payers understand provident living and tend to be more self-reliant.   
I have come to understand that the Lord’s richest blessings are spiritual, and they often have to do with family, friends, and the gospel. He often seems to give the blessing of a special sensitivity to the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, especially in marriage and family matters like raising children. Such spiritual sensitivity can help us enjoy the blessings of harmony and peace in the home. President James E. Faust suggested that the payment of tithing is “an excellent insurance against divorce” (“Enriching Your Marriage,” Liahona, Apr. 2007, 5; Ensign, Apr. 2007, 7). 
The payment of tithing helps us develop a submissive and humble heart and a grateful heart that tends to “confess … his hand in all things” (D&C 59:21). Tithe-paying fosters in us a generous and forgiving heart and a charitable heart full of the pure love of Christ. We become eager to serve and bless others with an obedient heart, submissive to the Lord’s will. Regular tithe payers find their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ strengthened, and they develop a firm, abiding testimony of His gospel and of His Church. None of these blessings are monetary or material in any way, but surely they are the Lord’s richest blessings. [emphasis added]

 I really love that he points out that money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. I would definitely rather have wisdom, a sensitivity to the Holy Ghost, and a humble, grateful, generous, forgiving, charitable, and obedient heart, as well as increased faith in Christ and a firm testimony of His gospel, and be barely making in financially, rather than living comfortably and lacking all those qualities and blessings.

I do have to add that even though I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe it was through God's kindness and the blessings from paying tithing, that I get to keep my summer job throughout the school year. I definitely still have to work for it, and I don't make much money, but I make enough to survive.

I firmly believe that when I pay my tithing, the Lord provides a way for me to make enough money to survive, and blesses me with other blessings, like a softened heart and the other blessings Elder Pratt mentions. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to pay tithing, because it's something I can know that I'm doing right. And I really like the sound of the blessings mentioned above. And I also love the peace of knowing that I'm helping countless other people through my paying of tithes, and I'm strengthening the kingdom of God. =)

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