The Etiquette of Tithing
I once had a conversation with a subscriber about making a mental shift in how we view tithes. Many people (and I’ve done it myself!) view tithes as a handout or some sort of charity, which we view negatively, as if
needing something is a bad thing. We all have needs, we all have desires. By judging our needs as «bad» we subconsciously block our prosperity in subtle ways.
Likewise we don’t quite know what to do if someone refuses a tithe from us, or tithes back to us. This issue, rather than share another success story from a subscriber (keep ’em coming, though — I enjoy reading about them and will share more in our next issue!), I’m going to share with you a few tips on the etiquette of tithing, that I’ve found helpful.
1: Be open and receptive to the gifts of time, talent and treasures that are offered to you. Tithes, donations, charity, whatever you call the blessings of your income, your time or your unique abilities, are acts of good. Charity, being benevolent, means doing good or causing good to be done. Our history is filled with «benefactors» who created trust funds or otherwise supported artists, musicians, composers, writers, teachers, ministers, rabbis, etc. These acts of charity brought attention to and provided support for the creative work they were doing. Today, much of this benevolent work is done through tax-deductible charities, but much is also still done through individuals with
no thought to the tax benefit. You participate in this wondrous flow every time you tip a street performer, or throw a house concert, or tithe to other creative individuals.
2: Don’t let others take your prosperity away by refusing your tithe (and don’t refuse tithes that are offered you). I’m often moved by incredible music. Several weeks ago I tithed directly to the soloist and the pianist (I’m blessed to get to listen to the incomparable Jazz pianist Stefan Scaggiari) at my home church. They both attempted to turn down the tithe and I simply said, «please don’t stand in
the way of my prosperity. You fed my soul and I feel compelled to give you this gift. Please accept it graciously in the spirit in which it is being given.» Simple words that carry a profound message.
I brought in some clothes to a fabulous secondhand store last week and told them that I didn’t want to open up a consignment account, I just wanted to give them the clothes. The woman was at a loss as to how to hack into instagram she could accept the clothes, until I finally told her to take the proceeds and give them to a favored charity. Often, people turn down tithes because they are afraid of appearing needy, and because we’ve had it drummed into our heads that you don’t accept charity, or money, for doing good deeds. Doing the good deed is supposed to be reward enough. And it is. Accepting a tithe is another good deed.
If someone is tithing to you and you’re worried that it’s too much or it’s too big of an item, or it’s too much of their time to expect them to give, simply ask: «Are you sure?» If they say yes, then graciously accept their tithe so that all may prosper.
3: Tap into the circular flow of tithing energy. Energy must flow, in and around and through us or it becomes stagnant. This goes for money energy as well as any other kind of energy. We must give freely and receive freely
or we will put a bottleneck in the universal flow of energy. We stop up our own prosperity and that of those around us when we react in fear or shame whether we’re giving or receiving.
I was part of an unusual tithing situation last Tuesday that brought this home. I spent some time with my wonderful spiritual mentor, Nellie, and tithed to her. Later than evening, I received a tithe from Nellie and from my church. I was so grateful for the unexpected tithe, and for how deeply I was moved during that evening’s meditation, that I immediately tithed 10% of what I’d just received back to Nellie. Sometimes, you will find that you spiritually feed each other. Honor that with your tithes. Don’t withhold them because you think it’s «weird» to tithe back to someone who just tithed to you. For tithing is what we all do, all day, whether we know it or not.
You tithe of your talents, even in your everyday work world. I tithe of my talents, when I put words on paper. Give freely, open and receptive to the good that will be coming to you. This good may come in the form of a steady paycheck, or it make come in the form of an occasional tithe. Be open and receptive to letting Spirit decide how that good will come to you. Release the fear and open your heart to give and receive your tithes.