I have been asked multiple times in my life about whether someone should pay tithing if they can't meet the basic needs of their family at the time - and by "basic needs" I mean things like food, utilities, modest housing, etc. These are people who are living within a careful budget - whose difficulties are not due to ignorance or extravagance.
I have been out of work multiple times in my life and been in a situation where I was in the situation I just described. Some people have experienced miraculous financial help when they have
needed it; I have not - and my experience over decades of my own life
and watching others testifies to me that miraculous help is not a matter
of someone's level of faith. I have paid tithing in those situations, but I have received fast offering assistance at the same time. I have no problem with the advice to pay tithing first if, and only if,
the Church then turns around and helps the person / family through fast
offerings make the payments they skipped in order to pay tithing. That
sort of advice demands a true partnership, in my opinion - at least until
circumstances change and help no longer is needed.
If reciprocal help is not being offered in the situations I described above, I believe food and other absolute necessities come first.
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