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The Ettiquette of Tithing

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Dr. Paul Ray, author of the Cultural Creatives was recently asked
how we can live prosperously
and still honor that there are six billion people on our planet.
Is it possible for all of us to live prosperously?
Can this planet sustain everyone living at that level?

And his response was something like this:
“Yes, as long as we expand our definition of prosperity.”


And that’s our focus this posting --
What does “living a prosperous life” mean to you?
Does it mean having enough money?

Well Sure: that’s what prosperity means:
Wealth, Affluence, Riches, Success!
Maybe these are the definitions we have to expand

My observation is that having more money
Does not always create greater prosperity in life.
The connection between money and happiness
Is becoming less and less clear to me.


There are plenty people with lots of money who are not happy
There are plenty people with lots of money who are happy
There are plenty people with very little money who are not happy
There are plenty people with very little money who are happy

I’m starting to appreciation the connection between prosperity with happiness…
rather than prosperity and money


to me..Happiness depends on more than having enough money…
Living an abundant life is really about having enough happiness and freedom.

And so an abundant life is not necessarily about the “quantity of stuff.
It’s probably more about quality of life.

And that’s where you come in.
You are the only person who can define a quality life for yourself.
And your definition of a quality life may be different to
Every other definition you have ever heard on this planet.

Clearly.

Because people live prosperously at all levels of income
Exactly because prosperity is not about money;
it’s about freedom and love.

Freedom to do what? I think = To express life!
(Do you know the Rikki Byers song = I want to be better an opening for God!?)

Freedom to do that – to express Life, to be an opening for God.

That’s what prosperity is to me – freedom to express love.

I'm thinking about...

There is probably a time in your life when..
· You contributed more than your fair share
· You gave more than you could afford
· You showed up for others when it was inconvenient
· Loved when there was nothing in return
· You participated in the game when there was no hope of winning the prize…

THAT’S PROSPERITY = its generosity of spirit
And one of the best ways I know to develop that is through giving
And now I understand it is about giving from what you have
Whether that having is a little or a lot

More importantly…. That the giving is cheerfully, joyfully, willingly and freely.

There are different ideas out there that describe the various categories of giving.

Such as
1. Charitable Giving
Out of compassion for the difficulty of the individual or organization

2. Philanthropic Giving
Donating to support a charitable cause with a defined objective in mind such as to promote good, or improve human life.

3. Regular structure giving
You’re in alignment with the mission and values of the person or organization, so you become part of its support structure – you’re dependable

4. Tithing
A practice, like meditation or prayer, that is part of what you do with your life, it’s a way of celebrating the flow. It’s between you and your soul.

These describe different styles of contributing financially
And I hope that I will share something with you
That will help you connect with your own prosperity definition.

Here it is:
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
Now - Maybe you already knew that.

Want to say it more:
If you don’t want to fit the way you share your wealth
Into any one of the existing models of giving
Don’t! / Make up your own. / Or don’t even do that!

And if you want to find out what spiritual teachers,
and self help coaches teach about giving.
There are more books, resources and opinions out there
than you could hope for.
When it comes to prosperity teachers
there is an abundance of them.

Personally, my first consideration when learning from others about prosperity
Is this: How is what they are teaching working in their own lives?

If they are talking about buckets of money falling from the sky…
Do they have that?
If they are talking about how tithing creates enormous wealth
Do they have that?


I tithe every single week and I have done for the last seven or eight years…
I haven’t missed a week in 7 years. I’m self-satisfied, but not smug!
· Because -- I’m not financially well off….. I’m OK!

I wish I could tell you that buckets of money fell from the skies as a result of 8 years of tithing….


But it hasn’t…..
· I don’t live in the most expensive neighborhood in town.
· I keep up with my house payment, car payment, bills and services – I manage.
· I don’t have every single gadget and nice thing that my heart desires or my impulses crave… but I have plenty.
· And you know…I would prefer to travel first class, but coach is more in my range.

I wish I could tell you that buckets of money fell from the skies as a result of my 8 years of tithing practice.. But it hasn’t…..

Something else fell out of the skies… and into my lap.

HAPPINESS

I am happier than I ever was before I LEARNED HOW TO GIVE.I don’t promise anything I haven’t experienced myself

when it comes to sharing how prosperity teaching has affected my life.

The most wonderful thing I ever read about prosperity came from Eric Butterworth who wrote: A committed giver is an incurably happy person…”

And I took that to heart
And I think I’m proving it more and more every day.

You know -- if I were you, I wouldn’t just take my word for it
I would check my credentials and references …

To do that…
You’d have to ask my staff, friends, family, and colleagues
· Is he a committed giver? Gimme three examples
· Is he generous? Gimee three examples
· And do you think it has made an impact on his happiness? Gimme three examples

Or, if you can’t check the references, check the method for yourself.
When you come across an interesting idea about spirituality
That you try it on for yourself before you decide if it is for you.

Like the book "Giving Thanks"
By Paula Langguth Ryan


It’s a book of great idea, excellent stories.
But why take her word for it when you can practice in the lab of your own life.

Does a spirit of generosity create happiness and freedom?
And does happiness and freedom feel like prosperity to you?

Clues from the book:

Four words to apply:

Freely, Cheerfully, Joyfully, Willingly

Freely
Your gift of love, time cash or service
May not be received in the way you have hoped for.
Give it freely anyway

Cheerfully
You may not be able to give as much as you want to the people and places you love. You may not be able to meet every need that exists. You may not be able to make every goal you set for yourself in the world.
Give it cheeerfully anyway

Joyfully
You may not be able to control the way cash flows through your life and the lives of the ones you love. You may not always be able to see the result of your good giving right away. It may not always be clear exactly how what you put in motions comes back around into your life…it may be frustrating.
Give it joyfully anyway

Willingly
You may find there are times when your own generosity is thwarted, and you don’t feel quite up to being this fabulous spiritual being your practicing to become. You may not want to hear about the needs of even your closest friends from time to time, and you may loose confidence and feel scared in this world and wonder if you’re crazy to let go of the little bit of whatever it is you have.
Give it willingly anyway

Just ideas - Freely – Cheerfully – Joyfully - Willingly

Dr. Paul Ray, author of the Cultural Creatives was recently asked how we can live prosperously and still honor the lives of all six billion people on our planet.
Is it possible for all of us to live prosperously?
Can this planet sustain everyone living at that level?

And his response was something like this:

“Yes, as long as we expand our definition of prosperity.”


What does living a prosperous life mean to you?

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Edward for a splendid and thought provoking post...

    Prosperity for myself:

    To awake in the predawn, then sense and see the sunrise on my face. Walk softly through a forest, and hear the wind through the leaves.
    To work in the garden, hands in dirt connected to the earth.
    Be abed and warm on a stormy night, cats purring mighty.
    A good book, a warm tea calico with milk and honey.
    Spending time with friends, conversation, hugs and embraces.
    To be of service to community, earth. and be valued.
    Smiles amongst strangers, given and received freely.
    Giving of time with presence and heart.
    Spend time with my son any here and now.
    Sharing and receiving abundance, joyfully.
    All these things in prosperity’s hoard.
    Fullness and whole.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good article except.....
    your concept of tithing is wrong.

    Point #1: N. T. Giving Principles in Second Corinthians 8 and 9 are Superior to Tithing.



    The false teaching is that tithing is a divine mandatory expectation which always must precede free-will giving.



    Free-will giving existed before tithing. The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9: (1) Giving is a "grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for "grace" eight times in reference to helping poor saints. (2) Give yourself to God first (8:5). (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (8:5). (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (8:9; 9:15). (5) Give out of a sincere desire (8:8, 10, 12; 9:7). (6) Do not give because of any commandment (8:8, 10; 9:7). (7) Give beyond your ability (8:3, 11, 12). (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (8:12-14). (9) Give joyfully (8:2). (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (8:3, 4, 7). (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (9:8, 10, 11). (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (9:13).



    Point #2: In God’s Word the Tithe is Always Only Food!



    The false teaching is that biblical tithes include ALL sources of income.



    Use God’s Word to define “tithe.” Do not use a secular dictionary! Open a complete Bible concordance and you will discover that the definition used by tithe-advocates is wrong. In God’s Word “tithe” does not stand alone. Although money existed before tithing, the original source of God's "tithe" was never money. It was the “tithe of food.” This is very important: True biblical tithes were always only food from the farms and herds of only Israelites who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel. The increase was gathered from what God produced and not from man's craft or ability.



    There are 15 verses from 11 chapters and 8 books from Leviticus 27 to Luke 11 which describe the contents of the tithe. And the contents never (again), never included money, silver, gold or anything other than food from inside Israel! Yet the incorrect definition of "tithe" is the greatest error being preached about tithing today! (See Lev. 27:30, 32; Numb. 18:27, 28; Deut. 12:17; 14:22, 23; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5, 6; Neh. 10:37; 13:5; Mal. 3:10; Matt. 23:23; Luke 11: 42).



    Point #3: Money Was an Essential Non-Tithed Item



    The false assumption is that food barter usually replaced money.



    One argument to support non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food must have been used for most transactions. This argument is not biblical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.



    In fact many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).



    According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in God’s Word in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the tithe contents never include money from non-food products and trades.

    ReplyDelete

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