5 Highlights for “Tithing: Opening the Windows of Heaven” by Elder Andersen

by | Nov 22, 2023

impressionist painting of man in suit

5 Quotes Plus Discussion-Promoting Questions

See also Teaching Helps

This is one of the best ‘Tithing’ talks I’ve ever heard. There is nothing cliche or unoriginal in this talk. He doesn’t make the usual tithing points except for the powerful blessings. Instead, Elder Andersen steps back and looks at the whole picture, which tithing is just a part of – but he shows how well it fits and why we would WANT to be tithe payers.

I’m quite fond of Elder Andersen. He is not the most popular orator or speaker – but he is a master teacher, and I’ve come to deeply appreciate him and the understanding he brings to my spiritual life.

You can find his full talk here. Unless you opt to spend a lot of time on a particular quote, try to pick around 2 questions per quote. Choose the questions that resonate the most with you and make a meaningful discussion for your group of personalities. These highlights and questions fit with Lesson Template 1 or Template 2. You can also check out several other General Conference Talks with 5 Highlights.

All blue quotes by Neil L. Andersen (unless otherwise noted).

Lesson Prep

  • Please don’t worry if you only get through a couple of quotes. Spiritual discussion is golden; it resonates and teaches more than a lecture covering all points will.
  • If the discussion gets too secular, pull it back to the quotes and a spiritual tone…naturally and with tact.
  • Encourage discussion by accepting all reasonable answers. Validate people for participating and be thankful they spoke up. Engage with the answer in a conversational way whenever it feels natural. Never say, “We haven’t got to that part of the lesson yet.”
  • If a lesson takes a different turn, roll with it. The Spirit intends for you to be successful.

Printable Files

Quote #1 (intro story)

I’m not big on stories unless they are highly relevant to the lesson material or our lives. This story hit me on several different levels. If you’ve been paying attention to the scriptures, prophecies, and signs of the times, you know great calamity is coming our way. What you see elsewhere will also be here if it isn’t already. I read some verses this morning that go right along with this thought.

We will all see what Elder Parra sees and more. Elder Andersen’s selection of this particular story is prophetic. He links these situations and how we fare – to the blessings of tithing. It’s something we would all do well to notice.

Suggestion: Assign someone this story beforehand so they are familiar with it and can read it with a story-telling quality. It helps people listen.

Possible discussion questions: What stands out for you from Elder Andersen’s story? (accept all reasonable answers) Why would Elder Andersen open up with such a dramatic story? (accept all reasonable answers – many saints are already seeing situations like this, and most of us will experience increased chaos in the coming years) Do you believe tithing is a protection?

Quote #2 (not money)

The Apostle Paul warned that the wisdom of men understands the things of men but has difficulty understanding the things of God. The world speaks of tithing in terms of our money, but the sacred law of tithing is principally a matter of our faith. Being honest in our tithes is one way we show our willingness to put the Lord first in our lives, above our own cares and interest. I promise you that as you trust in the Lord, the blessings of heaven will follow.

Possible discussion questions: Is tithing about money? (I hope they say no! – but accept any reasonable answer) Why do you think it is sometimes difficult for those not of our faith – to understand that tithing isn’t about money? How does being honest with our tithes show that we put the Lord first? (accept all reasonable answers – but for me, it means I want to help fund the Lord’s work on the earth and be a part of its success)

Quote #3 (share the list)

Part A

Optional: you can have one person read this or divide it up so that more can participate.

Sharing this list is important! Sometimes, people don’t see or realize first-hand what tithing does in 195 countries. Or what it takes to be a worldwide church. We need to hear about what tithing does. Tithing and the Lord’s providence make this worldwide church possible.

Quick Discussion Questions: What is one of your favorites from Elder Andersen’s list (and why)? Do you have any experiences to share? (Through Pathways, I’ve returned to school for a 2nd Bachelor’s. It is much more relevant than my old one in today’s world. I am so grateful for this experience. I graduate in April)

Part B

I love this quote!

Possible discussion questions: How do you feel being part of this divine work in the future worldwide? Why does the world need our Church to be strong in the last days? Who do we help when we pay tithes? Why is the amount of money not important? How does trust in the Lord bring empowerment and blessings?

Quote #4 (unusual )

Possible engagement tool: Tell your group to listen for a rather unusual blessing that tithing can bring us.

The blessings of tithing come in many ways. In 1998, I accompanied then-Elder Henry B. Eyring to a large Church meeting in the Utah area now known as Silicon Slopes, a community of great innovation in technology. It was a time of growing prosperity, and Elder Eyring cautioned the Saints about comparing what they had with others and wanting more. I will always remember his promise that their desire for more material possessions would diminish as they paid an honest tithe. Within two years, the technology bubble burst. Many lost their jobs, and companies struggled during this time of financial adjustment. Those who followed the counsel of Elder Eyring were blessed.

That’s such an unusual blessing!

Possible discussion questions: What is Elder Eyring’s unusual promise to the Saints in 1998? Why are materialism and consumerism spiritually unhealthy? Why was that tithing blessing important during the year 2000?

Quote #5 (a part)

You and I are part of God’s important work upon the earth. It will not come to naught but will continue to move across the world, preparing the way for the Savior’s return. I testify to the words of President Russell M. Nelson: “In coming days, we will see the greatest manifestations of the Savior’s power that the world has ever seen. Between now and the time He returns … , He will bestow countless privileges, blessings, and miracles upon the faithful.”

Possible discussion questions: What stands out today from this quote? How does President Nelson’s promise make you feel? Why will the Savior manifest so much power? (accept all reasonable answers – The end-times and destruction are increasing. It’s the law of opposition in all things; great miracles match great destructions like with our pioneer history) How do you feel being alive during the last days?

Summary

Summarize class discussion highlights and/or share your testimony and feelings about Elder Andersen’s talk. Thank your class for their excellent contributions and insights.

Final Comment

I’m always grateful for our teachers, but I’m incredibly thankful to those of you who will be teaching this lesson. Tithing can potentially turn people off, but Elder Andersen empowers us instead. Please share your witness and faith as you share these principles and invite others to do the same. God bless you. If you would like some tips on how to feel more confident while teaching – try “9 Tips for More Class Participation.Please put the quotes in any order that makes sense to you.

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2 Comments

  1. Elma Lynne Prince

    Does the statement from Elder Holland in his talk referred to in the footnotes – “I believe that divine safety {from evil] has come, at least in part, because of our determination…. to pay tithing.
    Does this mean that our children will be safe from being tempted and making poor choices if we are paying our tithing?

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      No, nothing can affect or interfere with your child’s agency to choose on their own. Divine safety would be from the elements, health and physical events of various sorts.

      Reply

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