Imagine if you received this offer: American Express will issue you a credit card which you can use anywhere it is accepted and buy anything you like. There is no spending limit; you can buy absolutely anything you desire. Want to buy a new wardrobe with a closet full of Yeezys? No problem. Looking to upgrade your romantic dinner with a 2K bottle of bubbly? Check. Would your garage look better with two Ferraris and a Bugatti in it? That’s cool.
There is only one condition...
When the bill comes every month, you have to pay ten percent of it. Buy whatever you want, just know that you pay ten cents on the dollar. Would you jump at an opportunity like that? I believe the universe already offers you that deal – through the mechanism of tithing.
Tithing is a transcendent practice going back thousands of years. The word tithe comes from Latin and means tenth. That’s why traditionally tithes are for ten percent. The most frequent question about tithing is whether you tithe on your gross or net income. The gross. Yes, the one before taxes.
Tithing often experiences resistance. Many non-believers view the practice as a racket that organized religion uses to fleece its followers, and even many religious believers view tithing with skepticism. I can certainly relate to both camps. Like many spiritual rewards, tithing requires a leap of faith. Allow me to share the tithing story from one of my earlier books…
My life was a dumpster fire. The tax authorities had seized my business for non-payment of taxes which left me $55,000 in debt, and no job, car, or bank account. My relationships were a disaster, my health was declining, and there were no more friends left to beg for money. My diet consisted completely of store brand macaroni and cheese, available at four boxes for a dollar. I was down to my last $20 when someone recommended that I buy the book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Reverend Catherine Ponder. The book was $12 which would leave me with only $8. The decision came down to:
If I was going to die of starvation anyway, it seemed better to get it over quickly, so the book got purchased. In the book, Rev. Ponder said tithing was required to manifest prosperity. Being so desperate to believe her, I did. That Sunday, I took one of my last eight dollars, put it in the basket at the Unity church, and forlornly watched it disappear down the aisle. (And since the Statute of Limitations has likely run out on this, I can confess to debating whether to inform the usher that the required tithe was only 80 cents...and ask for my 20 cents change.)
The following day, a deposit refund check of $75 arrived from Florida Power & Light. The letter with it said that they had been reviewing their records and because I was such a good customer that paid on time, they no longer needed a deposit from me. This premise was beyond preposterous. I had to ask for extensions regularly, never paid on time, and they had cut off the power for nonpayment at least three times.
I was, and still am, convinced that the refund was the result of tithing that dollar at church that Sunday. Now if you analyze it, you realize that for that check to arrive on Monday, it must have been mailed a few days before the dollar went into the basket. How could that happen?
Fuck if I know.
(Although, to be fair, this scenario seems a lot more plausible than the plot of most Christopher Nolan films.) In any event, I was afraid not to tithe after that first check came, so another $7.50 went in the basket the following Sunday. After that, a guy who owed me $200 and disappeared two years earlier, reappeared and paid me back. I tithed $20 on that $200 and have been tithing ten percent of every dollar ever made since. That began a vicious cycle of ever-increasing income, net worth, and overall prosperity. Now instead of tithing from fear, I do so joyfully, lovingly, and gratefully.
Although my faith in organized religion diminished, my faith in tithing never did. As most readers here know, I believe many religious doctrines and dogma are harmful, but do believe we should strive to live a spiritual life. If the purpose of tithing is to give back to the source of our spiritual nourishment, that means a source that nurtures and advances our spiritual nature. Sadly, many religious organizations are actually teaching (preaching) hate, judgment, and intolerance. There is nothing spiritual or nurturing about that. In my case, my tithing philosophy became about circulating my blessings forth to people and organizations that nourish and feed my spiritual nature, keeping the flow of prosperity intact.
Over the years, I’ve also become the recipient of tithing from many people. Some are people who don’t believe in god, while others believe in a higher power, but haven’t found a community or religion that speaks to them. They feel my prosperity works provides their spiritual nourishment and tithe accordingly. At first, I was conflicted about accepting these tithes, but ultimately realized I must accept them in gratitude, to remain congruent in my prosperity beliefs and teaching.
There are three prosperity principles that apply in the tithing arena of prosperity. They are:
Let’s double click on each of these principles. First, there are no medicines or treatments that can make you prosperous. Prosperity only comes when you are ready to accept it. Every day when you awaken, the universe is asking, “How much prosperity are you willing to accept today?” If you have low self-esteem, feel guilty about wealth, or are suffering from worthiness issues, you will find a way to reject the prosperity that is your birthright.
If your core belief about life is that you are meant to suffer in this lifetime only to receive your reward in the afterlife, you simply won’t allow yourself to be healthy, happy, and prosperous. Far too many organized religions are selling this cosmic frequent flyer program of “earn points now for the free trip to paradise later.” That’s a belief that doesn’t serve you. You may believe in god or you may not. But either way, when you live with prosperity consciousness, you view yourself as a co-creator in your life (and prosperity).
As far as out-giving the universe, that is impossible to do. Don’t think of tithing as precise arithmetic exchange. The prosperity you circulate is always magnified and expands, returning disproportionately more back in return. Tithing is circulation in action. (For a deeper dive on this topic, see this essay.)
Because of the laws that govern the way the universe operates – the universe will always get its tithe.
You can tithe with gratitude and love to the source of your spiritual nourishment. Or you can attempt to hoard your blessings – and have them involuntarily taken from you by sickness, setbacks, or unexpected emergencies. Remember, prosperity is all about circulation. (Think of prosperity as a free-flowing mountain stream, always moving, releasing pressure, seeking its proper level. When water pools in a stationary place, it becomes cloudy and stagnant.) Keep your substance circulating or it too will become inert. When you tithe by choice with intention, you invoke many of the other universal laws like the law of giving and receiving, creating ripples of giving and abundance that eventually find their way back to you. Just as the tides will rise and fall, the universe will always get its tithe. Better to tithe mindfully with purpose of your desired outcome.
If your church, temple, mosque, or synagogue provides adequate spiritual nourishment to you, then they are a superb and worthy recipient of your tithing. If you’re not getting spiritual nourishment from your religion, or you don’t practice any religion, tithing can still offer you a rich, rewarding experience. Just think about where you are receiving spiritual nourishment and tithe there.
Tithing should not be confused with making charitable donations. Giving to charity is prosperous, rewarding, and can be quite spiritual, but is not tithing. When you make donations to charity, you are supporting people and causes you believe in. For instance, you might donate money to build wells in Africa, save the rainforest, or sponsor a developing artist. The essence of tithing is giving back to the source that provides your spiritual nourishment. You’re acknowledging the source of your abundance.
Both charitable giving and spiritual tithing speak deeply to my soul and have been a huge part of the way I live for many years now. Charity and tithing both contribute greatly to a prosperous lifestyle because they both operate on the spiritual principles of generosity, circulation, giving, and receiving.
There are many ways your tithe can come back to you and you won’t always know how it will manifest. Money is a pretty common way. But it could also come in the form of reconciliation with someone you’re estranged from, a gift, meeting your perfect soulmate, a healing, or a promotion at work. Perhaps no one really knows all the science underlying tithing and how it manifests in your prosperity. But drawing on physics, we do know that at its ultimate level, everything is energy vibrations. And we know energy can be attracted or repelled. The substance of all forms of true prosperity are infinite, and once manifested on the physical plane, create their own expansion. This is demonstrated in all instances of prosperity manifestation, such as health, love, happiness, joy, and even money. All of these forms of prosperity are boundless and infinite. The more you give away, the more you receive back.
As most of you know, I’ve started conducting a weekly Prosperity Celebration service on Saturdays. Let me leave you with the offering affirmation we use during that. Feel free to affirm this whenever and where ever you tithe.
“Prosperity begins with me. Holding this tithe in my hand or my heart, I now send it forth as a seed offering of hope, healing, and highest good – knowing it blesses myself, the recipient, and the universe around us.”
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