Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Personal Tithes

The concept or act of paying tithing has come to my mind lately.  Tithing is a huge part of our lives as Latter-day Saints and blessings are poured out upon us as we pay the allotted 10% of our earnings to the Lord.  As important as paying our financial tithing is I believe paying tithes to the Lord encompasses much more than just offering 10% of what He has already so graciously given us. 

One thing I've come to learn is that I have my own personal tithing that I have the fortuity to pay to the Lord. I have the opportunity to say:
Here is this thing that I love so much, that I am attached to, that I feel I cannot live without, that I feel I will die without. Here is this thing that I want so bad; this thing that has owned every part of me for most of my life.  Here it is; and I will give it to you.  I will give it to you because as much as I love it - I love you more.
Bruce C. Hafen counsels in The Atonement: All for All:
We can have eternal life if we want it, but only if there is nothing else we want more.
Once I finally sacrificed that which I felt my ultimate survival depended on and actively began working on loving my Savior more than my addiction; only then did I begin to heal.  But I didn't begin to get better until I first offered my sacrifice to the Lord.  I offered on the altar, my Isaac.  No, my love for my addiction wasn't the pure love that a parent has for their child as Abraham had for Isaac.  My love for my addiction was perceived and false, but for me, at that time, it was what I knew and it was very real.  It wasn't until I reached for help and trusted the Lord that the dense fog of Satan's lies began to lift and I began to see all the lies I had been led to believe for what they really were.  But it took my acknowledgement of my circumstance, my initial reaching, and my sacrifice to get to that point.  I had to have faith that on the other side of my sacrifice I would find rescue from the soul sucking destructive pull of my addiction.

Thomas S. Monson teaches us in The Key of Faith:
We need the key of faith. No locked door can withstand its opening capacity. Faith is a requisite to this work. There is within our grasp the key which will unlock to our view that which we earnestly seek.
Sacrificing the very behaviors that we so blindly believe gives us freedom and in turning to our Savior we in essence strengthen our faith and our trust in Him.  For every sacrifice we make He pours out an unimaginable amount of blessings upon us.  Those blessings then leave a trail for us to continue to follow. We are children, we like rewards.  Somehow Satan gets us to believe that the Lord doesn't love us.  That is a lie.  The Lord loves us and only wants us to love Him in return.  He wants us to love Him first.  That entails offering our personal tithes to Him.

Robert D. Hales explains in Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings:
(Personal) tithing develops and tests our faith.  By sacrificing to the Lord what we may think we need or want for ourselves, we learn to rely on Him.  The obedient payment of (personal) tithing fortifies our faith, and that faith sustains us through the trials, tribulations, and sorrows in our life's journey.
At times it may seem impossible to sacrifice that which gets in the way of returning home to the loving arms of our Father.  Sometimes we have to tell loved ones that we have hurt them on a very personal and intimate level or admit to mismanagement of finances.  Sometimes we have to do really hard things like quit jobs that threaten our recovery, break ties to destructive relationships or even discontinue internet usage for extended periods of time.  But no matter how hard the sacrifice - the blessings on the other side will always be worth it.  Always.

Dallin H. Oaks sums it up perfectly in Reach Out and Climb!:
When we face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the fulfillment of righteous responsibilities, we should remember that when we are involved in the work of the Lord, the obstacles before us are never as great as the power behind us. We should reach out and climb. Handholds will only be found by hands that are outstretched. Footholds are only for feet that are on the move.  We are told that faith precedes the miracle. We have also learned that personal efforts precede it.  Nothing is impossible to those who keep God’s commandments and follow His directions. But the blessings that carry us over obstacles do not precede our efforts; they follow them.  What do we do when we face obstacles in the fulfillment of righteous responsibilities? We reach out and climb! The blessings that solve problems and carry us over obstacles come to persons who are on the move.
Let us always be on the move.  
Let us ever be mindful of our circumstance.
Let us continually keep at the forefront of our minds what we can be giving as personal tithes to the Lord. 
Let us never get so lazy as to think we have nothing left to sacrifice. 
Let us never give up. 

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Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"