Monday, December 15, 2008

Tithes and Offerings

It wasn't our family's finest moment. Our church believes in paying a ten percent tithe and last night was our annual tithing settlement with the Bishop. It should be a happy, testimony-building experience. It shouldn't include weeping and wailing.

Abby enjoys money. She doesn't enjoy it for its purchasing power, she just appreciates the feel, the smell, the look of money. For Christmas she received a twenty in the mail from her Grandpa Kelley. She had no plans to use it; she just liked having it.

So on the way to tithing settlement we explained to Abigail the purpose of tithing and how her two dollars would help the poor, contribute to church and temple building, assist the needy in times of disaster. She wasn't budging. She wanted her twenty. We told her that once we gave her a ten, a five, and three ones in exchange for her twenty she'd really have more money. No go. As we pulled into the snowy church parking lot I was beginning to feel a bit frantic about how I'd get that two dollars.

We entered the Bishop's office and took our seats. I felt disaster was imminent. The poor unsuspecting Bishop asked Abby, "Are you a full tithe payer?" A simple question.

"Sometimes," she whispered, turning towards the wall. The Bishop looked at us and we just shrugged. We'd tried. It was his turn.

"Don't you think you should be a full tithe payer all the time?" He said it very gently.

"I want to keep my money," and her chin started to quiver. Her shoulders moved up and down. And then she sobbed. Loud, wailing sobs.

I attempted to comfort Abby and the Bishop turned his attention to Madeline. He asked her some general tithing questions, possibly to educate her younger sister on the finer points of the ten percent tithe. Madeline answered loudly over the din of her sister. "When you pay your tithing you're telling the Lord that you're willing to make a sacrifice." Abby screamed louder.

The Bishop moved onto the rest of the family. All proceeded without incident and the mood was lightening. Abby had down-graded from sobbing to quiet weeping when Maya loudly passed gas. Her offering. We asked the Bishop if we could possibly exit, re-enter, and try again. A tithing settlement do-over.

In the end the Bishop never got his two dollars. At least he hasn't gotten it yet.


Kelly said...

Love this post. So real- so raw. I want my two dollars from that movie, what was it? Was not wasted on me. Hope the rest of your readers get it too. I say let her sit with her decision and see how it makes her feel. She is a good girl...

Hang in there Mom!

rachel said...

Better Off Dead right? Love that movie- OK you are a fabulous writer...felt her angst, your trepidation and the ever popular mood lightener...gas :D This post has it all! I am going to follow your blog if that's ok. You have a beautiful family!

Lisa Cairney said...

Super funny, E!!!! I feel for Abby! :) And admire her guts at sticking to her naughty little guns about her two dollars...I would have totally caved...She will look back at this one day and laugh, I'll bet....and be glad that her mama chronicled it in her blog.

Janelle said...

Oh my goodness, I'm going to have to let Deej read this one. He's often used the "I want my two dollars" line. Abby is a little spitfire. She is SO DANG cute. Her stories are definitely worth chronicling. I agree with Lisa, she had guts to stick to her desire to hang on to the money. When she decides to give the money it will be because SHE wants to, and that's a good thing.

Diane said...

Love your blog! That reminds me of our tithing settlement last week, except it was my husband in shock and wondering where his 90% went. After he saw what his 10% was. I love your side of the Sound, I grew up in Gig Harbor and have lived in Port Orchard too. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Terynn said...

The Lord loves a *cheerful* giver (the Bible tells me so).

You could have threatened, bribed, insisted, whooped her hiney and/or somehow MADE Abby tithe, but is God glorified by that? Probably not so much.

My guess? The Holy Spirit will work in Abby's little heart and will convict her of this lesson (it is good to tithe) in a really wonderful way; in a way she will never forget and you could have never 'taught'.

Believe it will happen. Wait for it. Watch for it.

And for heaven's sake, don't forget to share with us what happened. You know we all wanna know!

Fireball said...

Didn't Adam go through something like this when he was about this age? Oh Abby. What a funny little girl!