History of Tithing
The origins of tithing can be traced to the Bible, still it is customary among many non-Christians as well as Christians to do some kind of tithing today.
Tithe is conventionally a Christian term that signifies the contribution of one tenth of one’s earnings as donation to one’s Church as a type of Church giving. However, every other religious system has similar practices within itself. In Islam the word used is ‘Zakat’. In the Sikh religion of India the name for it is ‘Dasvandh’ which again signifies setting apart a tenth of one’s earnings for pious acts. It was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru who started the practice. The sacred texts of Hinduism like the Bhagavadgita and the Upanisads state that ‘true alms’ is that which is given as a part of one’s duty in the right place and at the right time to a worthy individual, from whom nothing is expected in return.
The origin of the word tithe can be traced to the Hebrew work ‘asair’ which also means to give one-tenth of a thing, generally an individual’s income. Today, tithes, or tithing, is a cash payment and is voluntary in nature. Nevertheless, in certain European countries there is still the provision for enforcing tithing by allowing the church to make it mandatory.
Denmark is a case where the Church of Denmark members have to pay a church tax, which is different in different municipalities. It is commonly about 1% of a person’s taxable income. The situation is similar in Finland where members of state churches have to pay a tax which can be anything between 1% and 2.25% of income and these taxes form a part of the common national taxation system.
But still tithing as a confirmed tradition was established only after Exodus. Tithes were routine in the olden days through much of the Near East and also later in Carthage, Lydia, and Arabia.
The Hebrew habit of tithing is recorded in the Bible, the first mention being the gift from Abraham to the Canaanite priest and king Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20). Ancient Arabia, Lydia and Carthage were places where the custom of tithes existed. Tithing was implemented by the early Christian church, and had found mention in councils at Macon in 585 and at Tours in 567. They were granted formal recognition during the time of Pope Adrian I in 787.
The practice of tithes in some Christian churches is contentious for the reason that it is putting into operation an Old Testament idea to a New Testament establishment (the Church). No proof is available in the New Testament that tithing can be applied to Christians. Actually, it was mandatory only for Jews living in the promised land to pay the tithe even according to the Old Testament, as it was in practice a form of income tax that was necessary to help not only the government of the then Israel, but also the shrines and the priestly class.
Present day Tithing
Despite the fact that it has originated in the Bible and earliest Christianity, now it is a unique way to gift something whenever you are given something. Giving EVERY time you are in receipt is a compelling form of giving as it allows the benefactor to experience something exceptionally eloquent – more on that later.
Let us have a little more of history. Malachi 3:10 is the section of the Bible that Christians hold in importance when they deliberate on tithing. Many Christians do tithe to their church as they feel that they are duty bound to do as per the rules of the Bible. Many Churches have all throughout maintained that their members should tithe to the church to help it conduct its activities. The core of giving is its voluntary nature and its delightful experience, without which it does not get its ideal effect – if in fact you are hoping to create an ideal effect by giving.
Disagreements about Tithing
Tithing has often been a contentious topic. The issue whether a Christian should pay tithe is often argued in many Christian congregations.
In an article in Wall Street Journal regarding tithing named ‘The Backlash Against Tithing’, Suzanne Sataline says, ‘As Churches push donations, congregants balk; ‘that’s not the way God works’.’
Regrettably, the different ideological perspectives, desire to dominate, and a narrow outlook, can lead to a Jekyll and Hyde scenario – the pure goodness of giving being lost in the fog and misinterpretation of religion. In spite of the disputes, tithing is still a fully and marvellously powerful act that any person can do to turn around their lives to face a fuller pathway.
For those who are interested in finding out more about a Christian perspective in tithing there are plenty of materials to go through. For those who are keen on knowing the reason WHY tithing is so compelling, what follows will be useful.
Why is Tithing so compelling?
This is indeed a powerful question because if you just mindlessly follow something without knowing some key background pointers you may be heading in the wrong direction.
If more of the people who do regularly practice tithing knew exactly why tithing is effective when done in the full spirit of a perfect gift, then it could possibly release a better yearning to give even more. And for those who give not on a regular basis, it could motivate them to give every time they get something.
To analyse the real ‘why’ of how routine giving leads to more we have to understand something about Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics. The laws of these realms vary a lot from that of our own material or Newtonian world.
The picture ‘What the Bleep’ paints the quantum world through easily graspable examples. The link to the movie here gives some details about how matter gets converted into waves and behaves like liquids when seen from a quantum physics angle: http://video.yahoo.com/watch/1349535/4653525.
The film portrays a wonderful world seen from a quantum space. When a beam of electrons is shot through an opening in a plate onto a wall – as is expected, it would hit in a straight line on the flat surface just opposite the opening.
If you repeat the experiment but this time using an energy wave that behaves very much like a water wave would do you get a predictable result. As the wave hits the plate it bounces off the place but where the slit exists some of the wave goes through the slit. On the other side of the slit the wave opens out in an arc fashion forming a new wave just like the old experiments you would have done at science school with waves patterns. As the wave hits the wall it hits with the most intensity in the middle right opposite the slit then hits with less intensity all along the wall. This is similar to the line the electrons make.
If we added a second slit in the plate, again we would get a predictable result with the wave experiment – two small waves would appear through the slits and when those new waves touch each other they would cancel each other out creating an interference pattern. Several waves would now hit the wall making a stripped affect on the wall. All this is as expected for wave energy behavior, so nothing new here.
All that is interesting about the quantum experiments come in now. As there are two openings in the plate, it is expected that there would be two lines on the wall opposite if electrons are shot through. But as against the expectation, what one gets are an intervention pattern and a stripped effect. This is not the expected result. So the matter has been converted into a wave. It can be assumed that electrons were rebounding off each other and creating a wave effect; so if electrons are shot only one at a time, the result should be different. But the result does not vary. This may happen if the electron break into wave like particles, when it strikes against the plate, then goes through the openings and then mixes with itself after it emerges from the plate. This results when matter is reacting like a wave, or rather a solid is reacting like a liquid. The world has perhaps too many mysteries that we do not understand.
Though the world that we live in appears to be hard and solid, it is perhaps possible that in reality we are living in a place that has more properties of a fluid – liquid energy or persistent movement of a fluid, which reacts more like the fluids in our material world. According to the rules of physics, similar fluids have a tendency to congregate, while those with dissimilar properties tend to diverge and remain separate. A typical example of this is oil and water. Chromatography explains how a single substance can break up into its individual components in clear bands the way groups of people break up into smaller ones with common interests, potencies or aims.
The essence of it is that we feel total fulfilment when we give a thing to another. The act of giving, the sense of bliss of it, is the greatest of all gifts. It is wrongly understood that he who is in receipt of the object is the only receiver and people fail to notice that it is the one who gives who is the real recipient. If you’re not still convinced, then look at yourself among children and see how fulfilled you become when you give to them whatever their reaction be.
When we appreciate that we are actually giving to ourselves when we give and that we do this because we want to feel satisfied then we have an answer. This answer unlocks the door of cognizance to giving. And when we give again and again the impetus builds up just like a swelling wave that grows larger the more we put in to it with our idea of our bountifulness.
The fact that we feel joyful when we give changes our energy literally – we feel better and in that moment we are more attractive to other people. Have you experienced someone on the street selling something that you don’t want such as tissues and normally you do not buy, but one day you do and the only reason why is because the person is happy and smiling? You may have experienced the same with buskers playing music on the street.
A contended individual radiates a natural magnetism that draws others to him and in doing so he enriches himself. It is clear-cut. They pull towards them both those who are desirous of experiencing that feeling as well as those who have already known the richness of it.
Similar to water and oil, givers and non-givers tend to collect together in different places. And the greatest place to get something is a place where givers come together! But of course you will be allowed entry into that group only if you are ready to give! Givers relish to give to those who love to give.
So even though we can run to quantum physics for our answers, they also lie right in front of our face. Like attracts like – simple. Everywhere you look you see this happening. Lions hand out with lions, students hang out with students, women hang out with women, guys hang out with guys, ‘poor’ people hang out with ‘poor’ people and ‘rich’ people hang out with ‘rich’ people. And yes – givers hang out with givers.
So if you give from a sense of self-reproach then it will only boomerang on you – you will just attract to you like-minded others who have a guilt complex and cannot be contented and delighted. The borderline between remorse and anger is narrow; so people gifting things out of a sense of guilt tend to turn in that direction. Joy is one of the highest of human emotions – and from there one can only turn to love – and that is what all of us are forever searching for.
So when you start giving you are two steps away from love – pretty amazing to think that isn’t it. Especially seeing most people are desperately seeking love. Now we know the answer is simple – go get giving! And of course giving money is just a small part of giving – giving in general will create a space of joy for us, no matter how ‘small’.
There is also a mental aspect to giving steadily. Even though at first this facet of it may not seem related to the feeling of happiness – in the end it right away brings us into contact with the supreme experience of joy.
When we give something – especially something we don’t feel we have much of – then we send a powerful signal to our brain that life can be trusted. When we give something and later on we look back and we observe that all worked out well we connect with trust. The opposite of trust is fear. So again, a party of fearful people would not be a happy and joyful one so their attraction point would be pretty darn low. However, a party of trusting people would be a joyful experience and would attract others seeking that experience. So in the end when we trust it converts to joy and again we are only one step away from the number one thing that most of us are seeking – love.
So the essence that has been forgotten over the ages is right here today for anyone to connect with simply and easily. My son received a lot of money for Christmas and I asked him what he was going to do with it. He said he was going to save most of it. I asked him how much he was going to give. He had not considered that an option until I shared it with him. What would happen if the first thing we did when we received was to give some away – do you think we would experience more joy
Transaction based donating – or transaction based benevolence
This leads us to the power of transactional giving. Many businesses give when they have lots of money. When they have little they tend not to give. Because of this their potential levels of joy are always go up and down based on the market trends – they have no control. But those who give EVERY time they receive are in control and connected with their experience of joy regularly.
Transactional giving rather than total giving is based on the highs and lows of business and so is a self-evident way of giving. The method is that when you get something you also give something – straightforward. If your business is bad you might give but according to the income. And when business is marking a rising graph, giving can also improve.
One of the major secrets of transaction based enterprise is that you can partake in the joy of giving so perfectly with all concerned – clients/society – staff – and enterprise. In this scenario customers understand that when they buy something they are also giving though it does not cost them anything other than choosing and shopping with you they feel power of the giving – that is why the traditional CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility, gets transformed into Customer Social Responsibility, with the customer responding perfectly to giving just by appreciating you and have that extra cause, though an elusive one, for preferring to do the shopping with you.
Your staff also get to share in the joy of giving because every time they are personally involved in creating a sale, they know directly they have helped give something to someone in need. This experience is powerful within a team because it can be used in so many ways such as team motivation and staff incentives.
Any commercial transaction, including profitless ventures, can do Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving – there are absolutely no prohibition to entering and the business decides most of it. The charity amount per operation starts from just a single cent and rises up to any amount of dollars with each venture choosing his or her own level of donating and giving to help and support completely based upon their business type and productivity. There is absolutely no reason to refuse to donate in this manner when the advantages of giving are so endless. Commercial ventures that are presently giving to a purpose can change very fast and without difficulty to Buy1GIVE1 transaction-based giving while continuing to support the same issue delivering more visible results to their enterprise.
At the end of the day transaction-based giving is a modern form of tithing that is easy and effective for anyone, anywhere. Now that we know it is not about the amount that we give such as one-tenth, but simply about the fact we are giving that makes the difference. When we enter the club of givers we move into a special and privileged world that only those who give are privy to. And unless you get giving today, you just simply don’t ‘get’ giving and never will till you start. So start now.
‘We’re not here to donate to ‘get back.’. We’re here to give more and more.