Paul's plea to Timothy, "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. . . . Neglect not the gift that is in thee. . . . Meditate upon these things," (1 Tim. 4:12, 14-15) was the text of President Thomas S. Monson's priesthood session message Saturday evening.
President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, said: "Brethren, ours is the opportunity to learn, the privilege to obey and the duty to serve. In our time there are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save."The honest payment of tithing, for example, "provides a person the inner strength and commitment to comply with the other commandments," President Monson said.
"All of us can afford to pay tithing. In reality, none of us can afford not to pay tithing. The Lord will strengthen our resolve. He will open a way to comply."
He said paying an honest tithing does much to ensure continued Church activity.
President Monson also spoke concerning paying fast offerings and quoted scriptures and latter-day prophets on the giving of fast offerings. He then recalled collecting fast offerings as a deacon on Fast Sunday morning.
"On one such occasion, an elderly member, Brother Wright, welcomed me at the door and, with aged hands, fumbled at the tie of the envelope and placed within it a quarter. His eyes fairly twinkled as he made his contribution. He told me of a time years before when the Relief Society president, Sister Balmforth, with food collected from those who had given, carried to his home in a small, red wagon food for his cupboard and provided gratitude for his soul. He described her as `an angel sent from Heaven.' I have not forgotten Eddie Wright."
Recalling an experience when he was a bishop, President Monson told of taking his deacons quorum to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City for a guided tour.
"They saw firsthand a lame sister operating the telephone switchboard, an older man stocking shelves, women arranging clothing to be distributed - even a blind person placing in straight fashion labels on cans of food. Here were individuals earning their sustenance through their contributed labors. A penetrating silence came over the boys as they witnessed how their effort each month helped to collect the sacred fast offering funds which aided the needy and provided employment of those who otherwise would be idle. From that day forward, we no longer had to urge our deacons with regard to collecting fast offerings."