(We appreciated this submission; it tied into our Weekly Question on tithing.)
A few years ago, my four-year-old daughter proclaimed that she wanted three boats: one for going fast in, one for just driving around the delta and one you can go in the ocean with. I want zero boats. My husband told her that we don’t have enough money to buy three boats to which she said, “Ya-huh! I have tons of money in my piggy bank!” Then I said nobody needs three boats that would just be ridiculous, some kids don’t even have food to eat and even if we had enough money for three boats it would be way better for us to give that money to kids that don’t have food. My daughter was shocked, “Some kids don’t have food?!!? That is bad.”
My husband and I sat down with her in our very narrow hall and discussed how it is better to give extra money away than to have three boats. Then we broke her the BIG NEWS. Heavenly Father wants us to give Him a portion of our money every month, one coin out of ten. She looked mortified and exclaimed, “What! I’m not giving my coins to anybody, this is my collection.” We explained that when we give our one coin of ten away, temples are built and we can have a place for Primary. Hungry kids get to eat when we give even more than one coin in ten away.
To help her visualize the principle of tithing, we sat down and sorted out her coins in groups of ten. Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters were sorted and put into sets of ten. Elizabeth counted to ten and then gave 1 coin of each set to Heavenly Father. Each time we said, “Now look at how many you get to keep!” And she would smile and say, “Whoa, that is tons!” And her tiny money grubbing hands engulfed the nine and placed them back into the piggy bank.
My thought was this as I saw the nine we get to keep: Can you believe we get to keep even that much? It is tons. The Lord gives us all that we have, and to teach us how to love and be obedient only takes one coin out of ten.
I love how you were able to teach about tithing using real life.
And what’s amazing to me is how when we focus on the negative side of things (what? 10 percent?!), it doesn’t seem fair. But when we flip it and look at the positive side, we see the astounding blessings! I especially liked your last line:
“The Lord gives us all that we have, and to teach us how to love and be obedient only takes one coin out of ten.”