Monday, May 18, 2015

Things I want my kids to know: Tithing. And money. And Blessings

Somehow, a lot of people have got this weird idea that the way God blesses us is with stuff and money.

It's like that weird idea that if it can't go on display in a show or gallery, it's not a talent. Who thought of that?!

There's an oft-quoted scripture that promises if we pay our tithing, God will open the windows of heaven and there will not be room enough to receive the blessings.

And somehow we imagine that all those blessings are little gold coins, like life is some Nintendo game and tithing is an endless coin block we bang with our heads.

The actual scripture is Malachi 3:10: "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."  It is interesting to note that most of the times opening the windows of heaven is mentioned in the scriptures, the verse is about massive rainstorms.  So thinking of rain would be more useful than thinking of gold coins. Rain makes things grow, after all. It give us water, which is necessary for life. It's free. It's beautiful. It's amazing. It's not money.

The blessings can come in any form--even ones you don't recognize.  You can pay your tithing instead of your mortgage and still lose your house.  We don't get to define the blessings any more than we get to define how God blesses us ever. (But I sure do find myself trying:  if I do my visiting teaching, then you'll give Tim more work, right? If I repent of this one thing, then you'll rescue us, right? It never works.) But even if you lose your house, you can be sure that God will rain blessings on you like a flood.

But they might be other blessings--chances to serve, children, happiness, talents, chances to learn (even though often chances to learn feel like curses not blessings), knowledge, friends, things not breaking, plenty of food, new hobbies, joy, health, etc.  There are a million kinds of blessings--or more--so why would we limit God to giving us money? In fact, God thinks money isn't particularly good for people, as far as I can tell, because He doesn't give most of us as much as we'd like.

So blessings aren't money, and you can't tell how righteous someone is by how rich they are, and poor people are not people who aren't as righteous or forgot to pay their tithing.

But the blessings are real. Just don't think gold coins.

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