I tithe. Tithing is one of my spiritual practices … but why?
Many years ago, I dreaded payday. I could not appreciate my paycheck because every penny coming in would be going right back out in expenses. My husband Giles and I were in the precarious position of being one emergency away from insolvency. Paying bills, I felt fearful and discouraged. Then Giles and I met Edwene Gaines at our local Unity church. Shaking and teary-eyed, I approached Edwene after her seminar to tell her Giles and I were committing to tithing and that as impossible as it appeared, tithing suddenly seemed essential. Her hands firmly on my shoulders, her eyes intently on me, Edwene said in effect, “I know this feels big, honey. It is big! You can do this!”
The first time I wrote a tithe check, I was surprised at how large a sum it was. It made me appreciate the other ninety percent! Month after month, tithe after tithe, worry was being displaced by faith. I opened my massage therapy business tithing from the first dollar earned, feeling increasing exhilaration as my tithe check got larger over time. Something else was happening, too. I was experiencing a direct connection between tithing to my church in appreciation and my capacity to benefit from the Unity principles I was learning.
Twenty years and countless tithes later, I see how the practice of tithing has changed me. Over these years, Giles and I have thrived in times of plenty as well as through lean times. I have come to appreciate money rather than fear it. I like depositing money in the bank. I marvel at the ease with which I give nowadays, and the genuine pleasure I feel in the activity of giving and receiving.
Eric Butterworth taught that tithing is not a law but a practice. I agree. The law is the law of giving and receiving, one divine activity occurring simultaneously. To the degree I give freely and joyfully in gratitude to Unity, to that degree I can actually receive and benefit from the Unity teachings. To the degree I give generously, to that degree I feel prosperous. Why ten percent? For me, ten percent is easy to calculate and it is large enough to notice. The other ninety percent is pretty sweet, too.