Story about Sharing Beef

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Thomas S. Monson

For example, consider the law of tithing. The honest payment of tithing provides a person the inner strength and commitment to comply with the other commandments.

President Gordon B. Hinckley has declared: "There has been laid upon the Church a tremendous responsibility. Tithing is the source of income for the church to carry forward its mandated activities. The need is always greater than the availability. God help us to be faithful in observing this great principle which comes from Him with His marvelous promise."

From Malachi we read: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings . . . . Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

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.

May I share with you a letter I received some months ago which provides such an example? The letter begins:

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.

During the time my wife was serving in a Relief Society presidency, her secretary was a student's wife -- the mother of eight children. Her husband, Jack, had recently been called as ward clerk.

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 earned 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 food, but the children said they wanted to pay tithing--so Jack paid the tithing, and they prayed.

A few days after paying their tithing, we had shown up with our package of meat for them. With the meat, added to what they had, there was no problem having enough food until the next paycheck. 
There are so many lessons here for me, said the writer--for instance, always listen to my wife--but for me the most important is that the prayers of people are almost answered by the actions of others.

"Be Thou an Example" - Thomas S. Monson,  Oct. 1996 Conf. address excerpt: