What was your inspiration to tithe?
In my church I observed a connection between those who were prosperous and the amount they gave to the world. As someone who was struggling financially, I realized that, instead of dwelling on a difficulty and thinking I am in a hole I couldn’t get out of, I could find a way out with God’s help.
I wanted to be more financially secure, to welcome more prosperity into my life, and to develop a healthy relationship with money. And I wanted to do good with that money. How could I do that? God gives me hope that I can. Our relationship with Him applies to all aspects of our lives.
Did you have any resistance at first to tithing?
There was a lack of understanding of where that request to tithe was truly coming from, and why I should be tithing.
How did you work through these resistances?
My motivation to tithe was aligned to experiencing firsthand how the practice helped build my faith. I had experienced a lot of pain and suffering in my life, and that suffering broke through my heart’s resistances, allowing me to explore and be more open to God in a way I hadn’t before. Before tithing, I thought, “I am going to conquer life.” And yet I felt, “I am failing. I am not succeeding. I am suffering.” Clearly my way was not working. Through this process I became open to what God had to say.
I was reminded of the Bible saying: ‘God asks you to have the faith of a grain of mustard seed.” I applied this small, fledgling faith to tithing. I started with a belief in God, and then sought to experiment. As I tested this practice, offering a little more and a little more, and seeing the blessings come into my life, I continued to water that mustard seed. My faith grew, and I was able to conquer my doubts, until I reached a point where I knew firsthand that this practice worked. It had made remarkable changes in my life.
What does tithe mean to you?
Typically, when we make money, the first thing we think about is the self, the ego. “What can I get with this money? What do I want to spend it on?” Or, “I fear that, if I tithe, I won’t have enough for the things I need or want.” But the Bible says, “Worry not about food or raiment or shelter, for God knows you have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be given unto you.” The way I understand tithing is that God knows my needs and, when I have faith and am open to Him, He promises that he will provide for everything.
How has tithing impacted your life?
I have been blessed again and again. Tithing has changed my life. It has deepened my faith. It has watered those mustard seeds, sent down deeper roots, and strengthened my trust in God.
There are certain areas in my life which I’ve felt more comfortable offering God to handle, but finances were difficult. And yet the more I release my attachment to money, and trust God with my finances, the greater freedom I have found from worry.
It feels good to know that this money is going to the cause of sharing God’s teachings. I am investing in world brotherhood, world sisterhood. This money is going to bring more spiritual fruit into the lives of others, to help them develop a closer faith in and relationship with God. Instead of life being about me alone, trying to make enough money for myself to live comfortably, I am offering my ten percent to this collective that is spreading a message of unity. This practice has opened my consciousness to a greater vision of family.