Friday, February 21, 2014


Lots of faiths give a tithe to God. Lots of people share their bounty with the poor.

It's one of those constants across all societies.

And some look at tithing as though it were this evil conspiracy to take money from the hands of hardworking people.

I don't see it that way.

My dad is a top sales guy at work. He has an easygoing demeanor that customers connect to and he was numero uno last month. The other day, he had no sales. I laughed that in all the time he's had the job--this is the first time he's had a no sales day.

When I asked him what he thought it might be--he immediately said, "Tithing." He had simply forgotten to pay a tithe last month.

So he's back to paying a tithe to his spiritual guru, and sales are back up.

I decided a few months ago to be more vigilant in my tithe paying. Every time I turn around, I see another blessing.

The fact is--I pay a full tithe, I get blessed.

I don't--I struggle more.

The big thing is--Why?

It seems to be less about religion (mainly because it seems to work regardless of faith) and more about the attitude towards money. If your attitude towards money is to grip and grasp and covet it--then it seems to slip through your fingers faster than you can earn it. But by paying a tithe first, you proclaim to the universe that money is so easy to come by that you can let it go. When I let it go, it always finds its way back to me either through opportunity, extra time, life balance, lower utilities, better health--the list goes on and on.

Rich people pay bills. They pay for their shelter, transportation, food, and services. They require the same daily expenses that poor people require. But they give the money without the gutwrenching angst. They know that even if things fall apart, there's plenty of money to cover their needs. By paying my tithing, I indicate to the universe that I belong among those who can give away their money freely. My relationship with money goes from being angsty and ulcer inducing--to being casual and friendly. I still pay my other expenses--and I may be left with very little. But rather than having a pit in my stomach, I feel things unclench as I hand off my tithing. I feel this spiritual trust fund open up for me. I anticipate blessings. Or I anticipate that I won't see the usual expenses. Potatoes are cheap. Turn down the heat. I'm comfortable. I'm unafraid.

I came to understand this partly when I worked as a debt consultant. (The irony...) I learned that people's debt to income ratio is the same across classes. If you fear losing money, you will take on more debt than you can afford--whether you're rich or poor. You spend and save the same ratio, regardless of the money you bring in. Your relationship with money is not about how much you make.

I'll end on this note. I see complaints about how the LDS Church may be using tithing funds. My reaction? I disagree with the assertion that building a high rise that will bring 1,500+ jobs to Philadelphia is a misuse of funds. But it doesn't matter honestly. Paying tithing, giving charity--it is a blessing to the giver because it changes our relationship with money from beggar to partner. We stop clinging to money like a desperate lover, and espouse ourselves to a blessed life. None of us are deserving of the gifts we receive. And yet the gifts keep coming.

This has been your inter-denominational sermon on tithes and offerings. 

Goooooooo TITHING! 


Melissa said...

Shane learned a lot when we was ward finance clerk for our ward. I think it just reinforced his testimony of tithing. I don't personally look at tithing as giving to charity though, because that's not what it's used for. When I give fast offering, that's what I consider charity because all of it goes to helping those who are in need. You gave some interesting food for thought though. :)

Amy said...
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Amy said...

The only time I ever struggled financially when I was a young single Mom was when I regularly paid tithing to the LDS church. I had to put basic necessities on my credit card because the money that should have gone to that went to tithing. When I stopped paying tithing I was able to pay all my bills on time, pay off my credit card debt and even save up a small emergency fund. It's a nice story that you've put on your blog. However from my experience as someone who was a low wage earner supporting a family tithing only caused debt.

Eve said...

I can only comment on my story. Yours is your own. I know you're not the only one who has that experience I'm sure. I just have seen a lot of blessings and I was trying to find a universal explanation for the blessings I've seen relative to my paying tithing. I am trying to include other faiths as well in this since my dad gives to a spiritual advisor of sorts. It sounds like things are looking up for you now.

Anonymous said...

You and your dad should study the study of Job in the bible.

Anonymous said...

This causes me anger and frustration. Churches, (Specifically the LDS one) because I've been helped out of a really hard time by the Catholic faith when my own faith wouldn't offer any support to me.

Sure, they might choose to help people who are less fortunate but, in my experience it's ONLY IF they'll get it ALL back in the near future. :(

This is coming from someone who lives with SEVERE emotional and physical pain because I've been without a basic life necessity and am a for real PERSON who actually and honestly REALLY NEEDS the HELP, even tho I'm afraid to ask for it. But I KNOW, the LDS church won't offer ANY help. Yet, they'll gladly come to our front door every month to take from my parents. (Supposedly for people in need. ...They must not have very good eyes or ears then!)

Eve said...

If you're afraid to ask for it--then it probably won't come. These are people, not mind readers. I have had to ask for help before. It was the most humiliating, horrible moment of my life. But I did it because I didn't expect anyone to read my mind. And they offered me a chance to pay it back through work if I wanted. I saw it as an expression of faith in my future. I never did pay it back because I knew it was okay if I didn't. I hope I have paid it back in service. It helped immensely and I did find my way back on my feet. But again, my story is my story. The blog is about the blessing that comes when we let go of money, rather than clinging to it. It just seems like cultures and religions worldwide seem to understand that when you let go of a portion of your money--there is something inspired about how that action can help you to have a better life. I love how people think tithing is particular to just the LDS Church. They weren't the first, they won't be the last.