This week in seminary we discussed sacrifice in D&C 117-119.
I love this tithing miracle story told by President Gordon B. Hinckley! Click on the video to watch it. (From “We Walk by Faith,” Ensign, May 2002)My amazing sister, Andrea Jimenez, recently passed what I feel were two Abrahamic-like tests for her.
No, she wasn't asked to sacrifice one of her five adorable children. Thank goodness! But she was asked to put on the alter things that were dear to her and righteous desires of her heart. And just like in D&C 117:3, Andrea's sacrifice is sacred to the Lord.
First, she was asked by the Lord to stay in a home she didn't like. For years she dreamed of a bigger home with a bigger yard for her growing family who loves to be outdoors and active. Several times her husband said, "I just don't feel right about it right now." Last week he was put in as their ward's new bishop. I cried when I thought of her holy sacrifice. Virtually her whole ward has homes with tiny yards. But since the Lord called them to stay and serve as an undershepherd of the master Shepherd, they are now planning on buying a bigger home, albeit with a small yard, in their own ward boundaries. She passed the sacrifice test. She put the Lord first. I was so proud of her.
Second, for years she has wanted to return to college and complete her bachelor degree. Each time she would get all excited to go back, with her great love of learning. Yet each time the she realized it wasn't the right time yet. Her children needed her during this crucial stage. So she put her education on the alter for now, again and again, and passed another sacrifice test. She put the Lord and her family first. I was so proud of her again.
Mormon missionaries. Mothers. Fathers. Pioneers. The Savior of the world. People who serve in church callings or volunteer in the community. People who sacrifice great things for great causes. You. Me. When we sacrifice for the Lord or to serve His children, it is sacred unto Him. My favorite definition of sacrifice is giving up something good for something even better.
Here are some quotes about how God feels about sacrifice.
Joseph Smith - “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (LDS.org)
D&C 117:13 - Your sacrifice is sacred to the Lord.
Ezra Taft Benson - Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life. (Jesus Christ--Gifts and Expectations, BYU Devotional, Dec. 10, 1974).
President Ezra Taft Benson - When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. We should put God ahead of in our lives. (The Great Commandment--Love the Lord, Ensign, May, 1988).
President George Q. Cannon – “Always remember that your lives, your ability, the food you eat, the water you drink, the clothes you wear, the earth you tread, the air you breathe, are all the Lord’s. … Then, whether you are rich or poor will make no difference. … You will look upon yourselves as stewards, and if you have a hundred dollars in your hands, you will say, this is the Lord’s, and if He wants it, He can have it. If you have a million dollars, you will feel the same. And where people have this feeling, riches cannot hurt them” (Gospel Truth: Discourses..., Newquist, 1987, 525).
Andrew Carnegie – “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust to be managed for the good of others.”
Booker T. Washington – “The happiest people in the world are those who do the most for others.”
Mosiah 4:21-22 – If God created you, gives you life and all that you have and are, and gives you whatever you ask for that’s right, “O then, how ye ought to impart your substance... one to another.” Don’t judge a man thinking it’s his fault he’s in need; your stuff belongs to God, not to you.
C.S. Lewis – ”I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare…If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us,… they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them” (Mere Christianity).
Joseph Smith - It is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life (Lectures on Faith, , 69).
Quotes about tithing, which is a law of faith and sacrifice. Some of these are paraphrased in my own words.
Robert D. Hales – “The primary purpose of this law is to help us develop faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Tithing helps us overcome our desires for the things of this world and willingly make sacrifices for others” (Ensign, May 2009, 9).
“Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering.” (ProvidentLiving.org)
Malachi 3:8-11 – “Will a man rob God...in tithes and offerings... Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse...and prove me herewith...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. I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes...”
2 Nephi 9:30 – Wo unto the rich who despise the poor, their treasure is their god.
2 Cor 9:7 – “give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Psalms 24:1 – Everything is God’s. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.”
Mosiah 4:26 – To retain a remission of your sins, give to the poor.
2 Nephi 28:13 – People rob poor when prioritize worldly things rather than sharing.
Jacob 2:17 – Share your belongings with others, so you both have what you need.
Mosiah 4:21-22 – All we have is God’s, so we should share with his other children.
Mosiah 4:24 – If don’t have enough to share, say, “If I had more I would give more.”
Luke 6:38 – Be generous with the Lord, and the Lord will be generous with you.
Pres. Kimball – Consecration is the giving of one’s time, talents, and means to care for those in need ... Members consecrate as they ... donate materials to Deseret Industries...” (“Welfare Services...” Ensign, Nov 1977, 76).
D&C 104:15 – “It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.”
DC 19:26 – Don’t covet your own property, share it freely.
Alma 1:29-30 – When you’re generous with God, He is generous with you! Alma’s people became very prosperous because of obedience, and they had consecrated hearts, sharing with those in need. “...they did not set their hearts upon riches; we therefore they were liberal to all.” They helped members and nonmembers. THUS they prospered and became far more wealthy.
President Gordon B. Hinckley - “I keep on the credenza behind my desk a widow’s mite that was given me in Jerusalem many years ago as a reminder, a constant reminder, of the sanctity of the funds with which we have to deal. They come from the widow, they are her offering as well as the tithe of the rich man, and they are to be used with care and discretion for the purposes of the Lord. We treat them carefully and safeguard them and try in every way that we can to see that they are used as we feel the Lord would have them used for the upbuilding of His work and the betterment of people” (“This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 50).