When Hezekiah became king of Judah at the age of 25, he implemented a number of reforms to turn his people’s hearts back to God. He repaired the temple. He organized the priests and Levites and reminded them of their duties. He reinstituted religious practices which had been neglected. And he gathered the people for a massive Passover celebration (2 Chronicles 29, 30).
Shortly afterward, the king visited the priests and asked them about the “heaps” of goods—”corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field”—which they had stacked all around. They explained that, since the people had begun paying tithing again, “we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store” (2 Chronicles 31:10). Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the temple to store these goods, so that they could be managed in an orderly way. The King James Version of the Bible refers to these storage areas as “chambers,” while most other translations call them “storerooms” or “storehouses.” (See 2 Chronicles 31:11 on biblehub.com.)
Nearly 300 years later, when the people returned to Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity, the priests and Levites reinstated this practice of storing excess offerings in large rooms in the temple. (See Nehemiah 10:38-39, Nehemiah 13:12.) At about this time, the prophet Malachi chastised the people for keeping in their own possession what rightfully belonged to God:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.Malachi 3:10
When Jesus visited the American continent after His resurrection, He quoted that passage from Malachi and asked His disciples to write it down. (See 3 Nephi 24:10.) He wanted the people to understand the importance of delivering their tithes and offerings to a central location for safekeeping and appropriate management.
In February, 1831, less than a year after the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord instructed church leaders to gather donations from church members and manage them carefully:
If there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support…the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy…
And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support, thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said.Doctrine and Covenants 42:34, 55
Three months later, the Lord emphasized to the bishop, Edward Partridge, that it was his responsibility to watch over donated funds and goods:
Let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop.Doctrine and Covenants 51:13
The word “storehouse” carries an important connotation: the money and goods which are donated to the church should be organized and protected until they are ready to be used. Like the ancient priests and Levites, church leaders have a responsibility to keep those assets safe, manage them carefully, and use them wisely.
In the Church today, the Presiding Bishopric is responsible for tithing, fast offerings, humanitarian service, building programs, and other activities relating to donated funds. Local bishops provide assistance to people in need in their areas. Regular audits, at both the local and general church level, help to ensure that resources are used for their intended purpose and that finances are managed according to established accounting practices. (See “Church Auditing Department Report, 2020,” General Conference, April 2021.)
The First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, W. Christopher Waddell, emphasized that, in addition to the contributions we make to the church, we should also establish “storehouses” within our own homes, so that we are prepared for future needs:
Key home storage principles include the storage of food, the storage of water, and the storage of other necessities based on individual and family needs, all because “the best storehouse”is the home, which becomes the “most accessible reserve in times of need.”“There Was Bread,” General Conference, October 2020
Today I will ensure that my family is current in our payment of tithes and offerings. I will also review our home storehouse to determine what additional resources we should have available.