***Tithing is a key way for churches to creatively finance my services. Ironically, many don’t understand the concept of tithing (scary huh?). The article explains it.
What's All the Fuss About Tithing?
In her book, The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity: A Simple Guide to Unlimited Abundance, successful author Rev. Edwene Gaines carefully outlines the definition, important values, and steps to practicing prosperity. She writes,"Tithing means a tenth. To tithe is to return 10% of all we receive to a person, place or institution from which we have received 'spiritual food.' Spiritual food is that which inspires us, teaches us, reminds us of the Truth, and causes us to remember who we really are. It is the infilling energy that reconnects us consciously to the awareness of our own innate divinity... Spiritual food satisfies a hunger for deeper spiritual faith and for a great realization of mission, purpose, and identity. This can come in many forms, like an uplifting message of an inspirational book or the feeling of joy from a piece of beautiful music. Whatever the form, you know you've been spiritually fed when you feel your heart sing." (p. 44)
She continues, "Our tithes must go to those who have fed us 'spiritual food.' It is perfectly logical to split our tithe, sending a portion of it to all those persons, places, and institutions who fed us spiritually." (p. 45) She further explains, "We are responsible for obeying spiritual laws as we understand them. Start where you are right now." Her belief is that "the more you give, the more you surrender your faith to God, the more you receive." (p. 46) God wants you to have everything—if you are willing to have it all. As Rev. Gaines describes, "The sooner we tithe on income received, the sooner we make room for more to flow in. There is circulation OR there is congestion. If we hold on to our tithe, what we are saying to the universe is, 'I haven't tithed on this yet, and am not ready to receive more good.' Hold on to the promise that the windows of heaven are opening for you, and that you are proving that God is the source of your good. There may be fear, but faith overcomes that with positive energy." (p. 48-49)
Rev. Gaines summarizes it well when she says, "God is waiting for you to speak your choices with faith and conviction and to see that you're in motion. God is ready when you are; on standby, just waiting for the signal that you are ready to go. And the signal is when you speak your commitment out loud, then take concrete action!" (p. 160)
The final words in her book read, "You are the light of the world. Keep your priorities straight and remind yourself that a life of prosperity is about far more than money. It's about experiencing joy, achieving your greatest possibilities, and being all that your Divine Creator brought you here to be. Let your light shine brightly. Go forth (Unity's 5th principle) and God bless you." (p. 216)
As a person who has actively practiced the power of intention and tithing, it amazes me how confusing this topic is for people! As a Unity Minister, I sat with all kinds of people as they wrestled with this concept. In order to help us determine whether a person, place or institution is truly a source of spiritual food, we must ask ourselves (as individuals or a larger community) questions like, "How exactly did this FEED me? How did this experience deepen my spiritual awareness?" So often, we co-mingle our moral standards or humanitarian hearts with 'spiritual food' that directly impacts our spiritual enfoldment. Get specific! Examine your true intent. Tease apart why you evolved because of the message, music or experience you want to tithe to. Is the area/person(s) you've chosen to tithe to truly the place you want to give your precious energy? By that I mean, your resources, your attention, AND your intention? Let the decision about tithing become an organic process that warrants further discussion and earnest questioning. If you can't explain your motives to another, more than likely you might be responding from a knee-jerk (or strictly emotional) reaction.
So often, we may...
Confuse donations/charitable giving with tithing.
Not ever be able to see or experience the incredible joy conjoined with the tithing process.
Not understand the full use of the term 'spiritual food.'
Not appreciate the critical role tithing can play in the overall scheme of collective 'greater good.'
Not see the bigger picture of how intention, gratitude, energy, tithes and consciousness interplay.
Become proficient in giving, but may not understand or consider the power of receiving.
Overlook the congregation's spiritual food sources, often yielding to an outspoken few.
Experience that some people unconsciously 'give with attachment.' (If I give this, then I'll get...)
Be too afraid/unaware to release limiting beliefs, old fears, habits, "familiar stories;" or there are issues of unforgiveness which restrict precious energy that affects the wholeness of the community.
Not be able to completely trust in our innate co-creative abilities or the Love of God.
I wholeheartedly agree with prosperity principles and abundance teachings! I feel it absolutely must begin with intention(s) and gratitude(s). As responsible stewards of a spiritual community, where do you want to place your intention? What do you want 'more of?' Also ask, what do you want 'less of?
Last but certainly not least, evaluate the concept of 'being ready to accept your good.' Generally, we answer that question rhetorically with, "You bet I am!" Upon closer examination, however, people may still carry false beliefs of unworthiness or an inability to accept their best, as seen in health, ease, time, love, money, relationships, growth, change or joy. Our own resistance (or disguised sense of unworthiness) can cancel out our ability to receive our inherent good.
Remember, "It is God's great pleasure to give you the kingdom." Do you know what that means? The 'kingdom' takes many shapes and forms. This is a powerful discussion topic for your board, lay leaders and community. Stay open and 'just be willing' to explore this topic! Simply by doing so, energy is manifested anew. By holding fast to the belief and practice that God is Good all the time, and that we co-create with this infinite goodness, our journey, and abundance (however that looks) will begin... Have faith in yourselves by trusting Spirit!