So here we were, sitting in his house (my bishop) late at night, and he turned serious, even stern. "I'm going to ask you the worthiness questions, and this time I want answers." So I answered all the questions, and there was only one question that I answered negatively: "Do you pay tithing?" I said no.
The bishop asked why.
"I don't know, I said. "I can't afford it; I just don't."
So, the bishop asked me if I would star paying tithing and I agreed.
Then he asked me if there were any other problems we should discuss.
"I swear-a lot," I said.
"Do you take the name of the Lord in vain?"
"Why do you swear?"
"It's better than hitting people," I said.
The bishop laughed. "Will you quit swearing?"
When I quickly agreed to his request, the bishop said, "You said that readily."
"Well, I don't swear in front of women," I explained, "so I guess I can control myself at other times, too."
The bishop concluded the meeting by asking me again, "Will you quit swearing and will you pay tithing?"
I said yes. I went home-I remember the date: December 28, 1978- and I told Gail, "Starting the fifth of January, I want you to take our gross income and pay tithing on it and don't ever ask me about it again."
A lot of things broke loose after that. If you asked me what the turning points of my life were, I would say marrying Gail and paying tithing. Ever since I made that decision to pay tithing, the Church has been the guiding force in my life-in business, family, everything. I have undergone a curious change since then as well. When I was younger, going to church was a duty. I did it because of social and family pressure. That all changed. Church became an enjoyable refuge for me and a place to learn. I love going to church, sitting there listening to the songs, the lessons, and the testimonies. It feels like a safe, comfortable place, and I have found something to be true that I have always preached to my employees: You can learn something in every meeting if you're teachable and have the right attitude and are humble.
Enduring to the end is a process filling every minute of our life, every hour, every day, from sunrise to sunrise. It is accomplished through personal discipline following the commandments of God.
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is a way of life. It is not for Sunday only. It is not something we can do only as a habit or a tradition if we expect to harvest all of its promised blessings. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Enduring to the end implies “patient continuance in well doing” (Romans 2:7), striving to keep the commandments (see 2 Nephi 31:10), and doing the works of righteousness (see D&C 59:23). It requires sacrifice and hard work. To endure to the end, we need to trust our Father in Heaven and make wise choices, including paying our tithes and offerings, honoring our temple covenants, and serving the Lord and one another willingly and faithfully in our Church callings and responsibilities. It means strength of character, selflessness, and humility; it means integrity and honesty to the Lord and our fellowmen. It means making our homes strong places of defense and a refuge against worldly evils; it means loving and honoring our spouses and children.
By doing our best to endure to the end, a beautiful refinement will come into our lives. We will learn to “do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us]” (Matthew 5:44). The blessings that come to us from enduring to the end in this life are real and very significant, and for the life to come they are beyond our comprehension.
No one's eyes were more penetrating than His, and much of what He saw pierced His heart. Surely His ears heard every cry of distress, every sound of want and despair. To a degree far more than we will ever understand, He was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Indeed, to the layman in the streets of Judea, Christ's career must have seemed a failure, a tragedy, a good man totally overwhelmed by the evils surrounding Him and the misdeeds of others. He was misunderstood or misrepresented, even hated from the beginning. No matter what He said or did, His statements were twisted, His actions suspected, His motives impugned. In the entire history of the world no one has ever loved so purely or served so selflessly--and been treated so diabolically for His effort. Yet nothing could break His faith in His Father's plan or His Father's promises. Even in those darkest hours at Gethsemane and Calvary, He pressed on, continuing to trust in the very God whom He momentarily feared had forsaken Him.
Because Christ's eyes were unfailingly fixed on the future, He could endure all that was required of Him, suffer as no man can suffer except it be "unto death," as King Benjamin said, look upon the wreckage of individual lives and the promises of ancient Israel lying in ruins around Him and still say then and now, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." How could He do this? How could He believe it? Because He knows that for the faithful, things will be made right soon enough. He is a King; He speaks for the crown; He knows what can be promised. He knows that "the Lord . . . will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. . . . For the needy shall not alway[s] be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever." He knows that "the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." He knows that "the Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."
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