When we tithe a portion of our income to God, we find that, far from depriving ourselves, we are blessed by the Source of all abundance: God. All real security comes from Him. Until we understand and accept this truth, our path through life remains uncertain.
The great saints know that God is in everything. Behind the myriad forms and guises of this world, they see God as an unchanging Spirit, manifesting Itself as the infinite drama of life. Their joy lies in serving as channels for God’s will. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Making money honestly and industriously to serve Thy work is the next greatest art after the art of realizing Thee.” Tithing spiritualizes our attitude toward money, and makes it possible for God to use us as channels for His work.
How Do I Tithe?
As we mentioned above, tithing is giving 10%, or some set percentage of our income, on a regular basis. This is an agreement we make privately in our own hearts with God.
Some people prefer to give their tithe, whether cash or a check, as soon as they receive any money. This could mean giving several tithes each month. Others prefer to give their tithe once every month. Once we’ve decided on a certain approach, the important thing is to stick with it through “thick and thin.” This will give God a chance to enter through the new doorway we’ve opened to Him.
The most important aspect of tithe is for it to remain a conscious act of devotional self-offering to God. It should not take on the status of yet another bill you have to pay.
How Much Is Enough?
Is it necessary to tithe ten percent? Ten percent is the traditional amount. In fact, it is the root meaning of the word “tithe.” However, there is no “right” or “wrong” percentage or amount to give. Some people tithe considerably more than ten percent. Still others maintain that our tithe should be right at the edge of comfort, so that we ’re particularly alert for God’s response.
However, if we tithe far beyond our own experience of God’s response, it can become presumptuous. Thus, for some tithing may mean 1%, while for legendary tithers like J.R. LeTourneau, the construction equipment manufacturer, it is 90%!
If you are new to tithing, start with a percentage that fills you with joy, and keeps you conscious of God as the true source of your well-being. If we choose a percentage that is too low, the act becomes so effortless that it slips from our consciousness. This kind of tithing doesn’t require us to raise our energy, which is necessary in order to draw God’s response.
Can My Tithe Be In The Form Of Service?
No, not truly. Service helps to spiritualize our attitude toward work, whereas tithing helps to spiritualize our attitude toward money. It would be akin to hoping that exercising hard on the right side of your body will strengthen the left side as well.
Tithing, like service, is an opportunity to give. They are, however, different from each other. Often, it is harder for people to tithe than to serve. We have to “give up” our hard-earned money (at least that’s how we think of it), and too often, the desire to give service instead is a rationalization against what seems to be a larger sacrifice.
But the truth is, the more we give freely for ourselves, the more joy we experience! Thus, “the larger sacrifice” becomes the ever expanding source of joy.
Can I Direct How My Tithe Is Being Used?
The tithe is God’s and so it is God’s to use. When we tithe, we should relinquish any thought of it belonging to us. Tithing is an act of faith and includes the faith that those who handle the tithes will use them as God wishes.
What Is the Difference Between Pledge, Donation, and Tithe?
A pledge is a set amount given usually for some specific purpose. For example, we might pledge $25 a month for three years to help cover a loan, or fund a special project.
A donation is usually a one-time gift, perhaps for something we feel deeply inspired to support.
Although the word “donation” is often used to describe any kind of financial giving, tithing is qualitatively different from donations and pledges. Tithing is a personal spiritual discipline, not a fundraising technique. Consider tithing as a foundation of your giving practice.