"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
December 20, 2012
Tithing Eggs
by Cyndie Swindlehurst

Question:

My wife and four children and I recently completed tithing settlement with our bishop. He taught us that tithing is 10% of our increase.

We just realized that for six months of the year, we had four chickens. They laid, on average, three eggs a day. That is about 540 eggs.

Unfortunately, we have none of these eggs left to give the Bishop. Can you recommend what kind of eggs we should purchase to supply our tithe of 54 eggs?

Answer:

You should supply the kind of eggs that look like legal tender and fit into a tithing envelope.

In-kind donations of foodstuffs are discouraged these days, and I doubt that your bishop (and his accounting system) is set up to receive fifty-four eggs. And since tithing must be paid to the bishop—you can’t do freelance charity and call it tithing—you should do the mainstream, non-attention-grabbing thing and pay with money. Especially as you don’t actually have the eggs anymore.

The fun question here is how much tithing you should pay on your eggs. You already know from your bishop that tithing is 10% of your increase. It is up to you to decide what that means vis-a-vis your eggs.

I have no idea how eggs were tithed in the years when the ownership of egg-producing chickens was more common than it is today. But I don’t think that really matters, except as an interesting bit of information. What matters here is that you, having judged the 540 eggs to be increase, teach your children how to calculate and pay an honest tithe.

So call a family meeting to calculate the tithing you owe on your eggs.

As a precaution, run the numbers on your own before the family meeting. If it turns out that you lost money, despite the production of 540 eggs, you should know that up front. (Perhaps you already do know that, which is why you don’t have the chickens anymore.)

To tithe your eggs, you’ll need to determine their market value. So take your kids on an outing to the grocery store. Eggs today come in many varieties: cage free, free range, grain fed, vegetarian fed, omega-3 enhanced, heirloom, and so forth. You will have to decide which kind of eggs are most like the ones you produced, and note their cost. Then do the math (extra points if you teach the kiddos to do it in their heads!) and figure the market value of your 540 eggs.

For the calculation of increase, the ages of your children are important. If you have small children, you might decide to put a value on your eggs, pay 10% of that value, and call it good. It would certainly be an honest tithe. It would also teach the children to think broadly (i.e. beyond their parents earnings) about increase and give them the happiness of paying tithing.

If you have older children, a more sophisticated understanding of increase is appropriate. Discuss with them the cost of producing the eggs, such as the cost of the chickens, chicken feed, chicken wire, chicken coop, etc., which you may then choose to subtract from the value of your 540 eggs.

In addition to demonstrating how to calculate an honest tithe on a non-cash increase, this little exercise will teach your children the principle of return on investment and, importantly, that eggs don’t grow on trees.

Do you have a quandary, conundrum, or sticky situation in your life? Click this button to drop Cyndie a line, and she’ll be happy to answer your question in a future column. Any topic is welcome!


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About Cyndie Swindlehurst

Cynthia Munk Swindlehurst spent her childhood in New Hampshire and her adolescence in San Diego. She served a mission in Manaus Brazil. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and from Duke University with a law degree.

She practiced law until her first child was born. She enjoys reading, tap dancing, and discussing current events. She and her husband live in Greensboro, North Carolina with their two sons.

Cyndie serves as the Sunbeams teacher in her ward.

Visit Cyndie at Dear Cyndie
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