To whom much has been given, much is required
Sometimes we have been a bit penurious [stingy] and figured that we had for breakfast one egg and that cost so many cents and then we give that to the Lord. I think that when we are affluent, as many of us are, that we ought to be very, very generous. . . . I think we should . . . give, instead of the amount we saved by our two meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more—ten times more where we are in a position to do it
We can start by feeling and expressing to our Eternal Father our gratitude for being part of his eternal family, and part of his great Church family which extends to far corners of the earth, and part of a ward or branch family. The family we were born or adopted into and the future family we will establish should also be of the greatest concern to us.
Those of us who are lucky enough to belong to one of the good, if imperfect, families we talked about before, can thank God and make our best efforts to be a contributing citizen in a home where friendship and values and traditions and discipline exist, and where we can make a significant contribution if we are willing.
Those whose families are not what we wish they were can be thankful to parents who through God’s gift have given us life, and we can do everything we can do to minimize conflict and enhance harmony in our homes. Some small miracles occur where there just doesn’t appear much probability that one young person can make a difference.
At the conference, I called on him to speak. I did not know what it might do to him, but I thought I would take a chance. He made a fine talk. He told of his trips to the East, how he explained the gospel to the people he met, and how grateful he was for his heritage. He stated that his opportunities in the world had been magnified and multiplied because his father and mother had joined the Church in the Old World.
As we drove home, he turned to me and said: "My, this has been a wonderful conference. I have enjoyed it."
...I thought to myself, he had enjoyed it because he himself had participated. I was glad he had. Then he said: "You know I have heard many things in this conference, but there is only one thing that I do not understand the way you do."
I said: "What is it?"
"Well," he said, "it is about paying tithing." He thought I would ask him how he paid his tithing, but I did not. I thought if he wanted to tell me, he would. He said: "Would you like me to tell you how I pay my thting?"
I said, "If you want to, you may."
"Well," he said, "if I make ten thousand dollars in a year, I put a thousand dollars in the bank for tithing. I know why it's there. Then when the bishop comes and wants me to make a contribution for thye chapel or give him a check for a missionary who is going away, if I think he needs the money, I give him a check. If a family in the ward is in distress and needs coal or food or clothing or anything else, I write out a check. If I find a boy or a girl who is having difficulty getting through school in the East, I send a check. Little by little I exhaust the thousand dollars, and every dollar of it has gone where I know it has done good. Now, what do you think of it?"
"Well," I said, "do you want me to tell you what I think of it?"
He said, "Yes."
I said: "I think you are a very generous man with someeone else's property." And he nearly tipped the car over.
He said: "What do you mean?"
I said, "You have an idea that you have paid your tithing?"
"Yes," he said.
I said: "You have not paid any tithing. You have told me what you have done with the Lord's money, but you have not told me that you have given anyone a penny of your own. He is the best partner you have in the world. He gives you everything you have, even the air you breathe. He has said you should take one-tenth of what comes to you and give it to the Church as directed by the Lord. You haven't done that; you have taken your best partner's money and have given it away."
Well, I will tell you there was quiet in the car for some time. We rode to Salt Lake City and talked about other things.
About a month after that I met him on the street. He came up, put his arm in mine, and said: "Brother Smith, I am paying my tithing the same way you do." I was very happy to hear that.
And all these and other elements we are not able to mention eloquently declare that such a union doesn’t just happen.
So the need becomes clear for careful, thoughtful preparation, selection, and courtship. No one should be unwise enough to count on an across-the-crowded-room romanticized live-happily- ever-after marriage made without proper thoughtfulness, preparation, and prayer. Marriage is an everyday and every-way relationship in which honesty and character and shared convictions and objectives and views about finances and family and life-style are more important than moonlight and music and an attractive profile.
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