For as long as I can remember, I’ve been paying a tithe on my income. I donate 10% of my monthly income to my church, which is used to build and maintain churches and temples, support missionaries, foster education (my tuition at the church-owned university was subsidized) and bolster family history research programs. In addition to that, my church has what is called a fast offering. In a nutshell, members of the church fast for two meals on the first Sunday of every month and donate what they would have spent on the food (or more if they want) to the church to be used exclusively to help others who are in need.
As I grew up, my decision to tithe was based on my faith in God, and that will always remain the #1 reason why I do it. But as I’ve experienced the desperate need in our world firsthand, and I’ve seen what my contributions have done to change me as a person, I’ve realized that the benefits go beyond those of a spiritual nature.
I believe that tithing has benefits for everyone, whether you’re religious or not. If you don’t want your money going to a church, you can donate 10% to your favorite charity. If you love art and music, donate to art and music. If you’re fortunate enough that you can give a tithe on your time, awesome. Regardless of your beliefs, tithing is beneficial to you as a human being and as a wealth builder.
A better place
We all want this world to be a better place for our kids, don’t we? Well, the reason why things suck so much right now is because the human race is downright selfish. Think about it. The majority of the suffering in this world by innocent people is the result of someone else’s selfishness.
There isn’t much that we can do about a lot of the world, but if more people thought of themselves less and others more, and used their own resources to make life better for others, over time we’d all be in better shape (and that’s not other people I’m talking about. That’s me and you). Of course, I’m not an idealist. Even our charity system can be inefficient. You have to be careful about where you give. Not all charities are good, and some are downright scammy. You’re not doing much good if you’re not smart about how you give.
Giving is good for wealth
I will forever remember attending a forum lecture by Arthur C. Brooks while I was in college. In it, Brooks shared some data from a study he had done that showed that people who give more earn more money in the long run. Why? It’s all about the psychology. People who give tend to be happier than those who don’t, and happier people tend to be more productive. And if you happen to be the type of person who pursues wealth, increased happiness and productivity will get you there faster.
It reminds me of a Zig Ziglar quote: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Some will tell you it’s a dog eat dog world, but our long-term success personally and as a human race depends on us looking out for each other.
Gratitude, sacrifice and success
There’s quite a bit of research that shows that gratitude positively impacts your mental and emotional state, and can improve your ability to get what you want out of life. Even in this twisted world we live in, there are endless things to be grateful for. In fact, the more you exercise the gratitude muscle, the more you’ll realize that successes can be made sweeter and failures less sour.
Of course, the basic definition of gratitude is simply the quality of being thankful. But as we up our game and extend that to the readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness, that amplifies our success all the more. What I mean is that there is a difference between being grateful for a roof over your head and a warm bed, and putting that gratitude in action by helping people who have neither. Our gratitude is perfected when we are anxious to share our blessings with others.
The same thing goes for sacrifice (not of the animal variety, of course). 10% is A LOT. Believe me. I got a summary of my donations for last year and I about pooped a little. But as far as personal development, there’s a lot of benefit from learning how to do more with less–especially when you’re doing good with the extra.
The benefits of tithing
The term is biblical and the tithe was originally established as a way to thank God and to build up his kingdom (the belief is that if God gave you 100% of everything you have and are, giving 10% back isn’t all that bad). But I really believe that the benefits of tithing extend beyond the relationship with deity. As I look back on our financial struggles over the past few years and think about all the money I donated in tithes and fast offerings, it makes my head spin. But I can honestly say that I don’t regret it at all. It makes me more aware of the blessings that I do have, and I’m a lot happier knowing that I can share them with others.
What are your thoughts on tithing?