Holy unto the Lord

Bill's parents, Fred and Christina (Cox) Stacey

Bill's parents, Fred and Christina (Cox) Stacey

“I think I can trace my testimony to my mother,” said Bill Stacey. “She had such faith that God was willing and anxious to help me become the very best man of which I was capable, I never doubted. I learned to do anything she taught. Whatever God asked of us, I just did it. I think it helped me become so convinced tithing was an important commandment, I’ve never been able to think any other way.”

Bill and Velma moved their family permanently to Provo, Utah in 1962, and decided after living there forty years it would be their final resting place. For most of those years they lived in the Edgemont Ninth Ward, and their service in the ward and stake was great. They had many friends there, and were well acquainted with every family in the neighborhood. After they had lived there about twenty years, a couple moved into the ward. The man became unemployed so his wife found a job, but the man was bored and frustrated.

In 1985 and again in 1989 Bill and Velma went on a mission to the Baguio, Philippines Mission, and each time they returned their friend was without employment, suffering from increasing anxiety and frustration. After the second mission Bill was called as Ward Mission Leader, and became very involved with teaching the gospel to non-members and less-active members.

Bill and Velma in Baguio, Philippines, 1990

Bill and Velma in Baguio, Philippines, 1990

That’s why when he was in a Ward Council Meeting and the Bishop looked straight at him to ask him to help that ward member get a job, he was a little confused. Sitting next to the Ward Employment Specialist, Bill at first assumed the directive was for the other man. However, when he looked up and met the Bishop’s eyes, he had no doubt he was being asked to help their unemployed ward member find work.

So that week Bill made an appointment and went to their house, a little uneasy because he had no idea what to say. He couldn’t help feeling this was a really hard assignment, and carried out the task only after praying fervently.

“I don’t really know why I’m here,” he said when they opened the door. “The Bishop sent me to help you find a job.”

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His friend was pleased. “Well, that’s good news. Please come in. I’ve been trying for years to find a job, but I haven’t found anything. If you can help, I’ll be surprised but grateful.”

Bill hesitated. He had been a bishop for years and had seen a lot of things, but what he learned from his mother came into his mind first. “I think we’ll have to do this in two stages,” he said. “First, there’s something we have to resolve before we go any further. You’ll have to make certain you pay a full tithing before we can get to the next thing.”

The couple were visibly surprised. They discussed for a few minutes the reasons their family did not have enough money to give up ten per cent of their reduced income. After all, he was unemployed. Bill told them he would let them think about it for two weeks, reminding them that tithing should be paid on anything coming into the house. Any income, gifts, interest, increase of any kind in their material goods should be tithed or the Lord was under no obligation to bless them. If this man was to accomplish his goal of finding work, he must be completely honest with the Lord.

Their trust in God’s commandments was obvious, but it was with great reservation they agreed to the plan. For two weeks Bill prepared himself to go back, wondering what he could do to help his friend find work. But just as he was ready to make another appointment, he got a phone call.

“Bill,” said his friend, “don’t bother to come. I have a job already.”

The bishop asked Bill to help others find work, but he found that when they weren’t willing to be perfectly honest in their tithing or pay tithing on welfare checks coming from the government, the system wasn’t successful. Giving up what we want is not easy. We devise in our minds the logical and sensible way to accomplish things, and can see no other way. But God has a plan which supersedes all others, and faith is the key. “We’re just trying to make ends meet, but He is preparing us for the Celestial Kingdom.”

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land; or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy unto the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30)