(Given when Elder Cook was a Counsellor in the Area Presidency)
“Test”, “try” and “prove” are interesting words, particularly when they appear in the scriptures. A recent review of the topical guide revealed 47 references in which the Lord used the terms, “to test”, “to try”, or “to prove” us during our probationary period here on earth. He tests us to see if we have faith to do what He asks. As we obey Him, we receive blessings.
Following are a few of my favorite references:
“I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law.” (Exodus 16:4)
“We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things.”(Abraham 3:25)
“Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:6)
“When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
“Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2)
These references, along with nearly all of the scriptures I found on testing, trying, and proving are directed from God toward man. However I only found one scripture that invites man to test or prove God. “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.” (Malachi 3:10)
Ponder the blessing: “I will open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room to receive it.”
Ponder the requirement: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse.”
Ponder the Invitation: “Prove me if I will open you the windows of heaven.”
Do you believe that God keeps His promises? The Lord invites us to demonstrate our trust in Him, exercise a particle of faith, and pay our tithing. He promises to bless us. If you are not currently paying your tithing I invite you to “prove” the Lord. Young and old, rich and poor, new convert and fifth generation member, keep this commandment and reap the blessing He has in store for you.
Task: “Bring the tithes into the storehouse.”
I invite you to pray and ask Heavenly Father for confirmation that He would have you pay your tithing. Plead for faith and courage to do it. Seek inspiration how you can pay the Lord one tenth of your increase. If you have money, pay with money. If your increase is in fruits, vegetables, crops, cattle or some other commodity, take one tenth of your increase and sell it to obtain currency. Use the money you receive to pay your tithing to your Bishop or Branch President. Be diligent and timely in delivering your tithe to the storehouse.
Time: If you currently pay a full tithe of one tenth of your increase, exercise increased faith that your prayers will be answered as you continue faithfully paying your tithing. If you have not been consistently paying your tithing, donate your full tithe to the Lord during the months of October, November and December of 2012.
Report: Share your experiences with your Bishop or Branch President during tithing settlement.
I know as you pray you will receive confirmation that it is God’s will to pay tithing. As you see the windows of heaven open and blessings pour out upon you, I know you will be committed in your heart to continue faithfully paying your tithing.
As we keep this commandment, the Lord will not only bless us and our families, but He will also bless the communities and countries in which we reside. Referring to the Lord’s promises in Malachi, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated, “I believe these promises apply to the nations in which we reside. When the people of God withheld their tithes and offerings, God condemned the ‘whole nation’ (Malachi 3:9). Similarly I believe that when many citizens of a nation are faithful in the payment of tithes, they summon the blessings of heaven upon their entire nation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel Culture,” Liahona, March 2012, 25-26).
I invite priesthood leaders to assist in extending the Lord’s invitation to pay tithing to the members within your stewardship. Share your testimony of tithing with them. Help them develop the faith necessary to pay their tithing. Counsel with members of your ward, branch, district, or stake council regarding how to best help members pay their tithing. I know all will be blessed and many of the challenges and problems you are facing will be resolved. (For more information, see Henry B. Eyring, “The Blessings of Tithing,” Liahona, June 2011).
I have witnessed the blessings that come to those who consistently pay an honest tithe. I know the Lord will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing upon us, that we will not have room enough to receive it. I sincerely extend to you an invitation to accept this 90 day challenge. For the month of October, November and December pay your tithing. I know your testimony will grow and the Lord will provide a way for you to continue to keep your commitment to pay tithing in the future. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.