Why I Tithe

by Nneka Kelly

I was officially introduced to the concept of tithing in my mid-twenties (before that I heard rumors:-). I took the 4T Prosperity program to establish the habit of tithing my time, talent, and treasure. I did it consistently for about a year, then I moved to another city. At that point I stopped tithing. For about 5 years, I would tithe in 6 month intervals and then begin to question the reasons why I was tithing and my motivation. Eventually, I would stop until I got the inclination again.Recently, I decided to establish the practice again. Before I started this time, I wanted to get clear on my intention behind the tithe, and what, if anything, I wanted to get out of it. I wanted to make it stick this time around. Here’s what I came up with.

Reason 5: Support The Elevation of Spiritual Awareness

When I learned to tithe, the 4T Prosperity program made it clear that a tithe was meant to be offered to the place where you received your spiritual nourishment. I suspect that this was because I was taking the class in a church. Since then, I realized that it is important to give regardless of the cause. However, I still practice tithing to the place where I get my spiritual nourishment because I want to support the elevation of spiritual consciousness. For me, that is the highest “cause”.

I happen to have a spiritual home that does an excellent job of raising consciousness. It starts with the feeling of unconditional love that I get anytime I walk through the doors, and continues with the uplifting, jamming sounds of the choir on Sunday. During the week, if I choose to explore different faiths I can, with classes in everything from the Bhagavad Gita, to the Bible, to Reiki Healing. I have a place to freely explore my ideas about God and share them with others on a similar quest. All of this requires money and time from volunteers. It is an honor for me to participate by tithing my time, talent, and treasure.

Reason 4: 10 Is More Than 5, But Less Than 15

One of the questions that’s often asked about tithing is “Why 10%, why not 5 or 15?” It seems like an arbitrary number. When I first started tithing, I was a student in graduate school barely making ends meet. The idea of giving away 10% of what I thought was not enough to begin with was difficult to digest. If someone said I could give 5%, I would have said no problem. I could give up breakfast and that would be that. If they said 15%, I would have turned around and said later for this. 10% was a stretch. I had to change my idea of money as finite. It propelled me to examine the idea that there might be an abundance of money and 10% was just a slice like every other slice that would come back to me with no problem, and more than likely multiplied.

As I deepen my spiritual awareness, I find myself giving more than 10%. I have had the experience that as I give more, more returns to me in unexpected and sychronistic ways. I get new income generating ideas and I am drawn to execute them. My relationships improve because I am open, giving, and accepting. I even eat better because I generally feel that it (food and money) will be there later. I don’t have to have it all now or hoard it.

Reason 3: Practice Surrender

When I realize that my life is unmanageable, there are 2 spiritual practices that I establish immediately, meditating daily, and tithing. I establish both for the same reason, to surrender. To let go of my idea of the way things should be and force myself to abide at a higher level of consciousness. It turns my focus from manipulating the world, to harmonizing with the force that underlies all life, God. Every time I write the check I am reminded to let go and to progress with the movement of life, to practice the Serenity Prayer.

Reason 2: Establish God as My Source

Hand in hand with surrender, is the establishment of God as my Source. When I speak of God, I am talking about the essence of life, the field of infinite possibilities, higher consciousness, not a being separate from me. Tithing is a concrete way to bring my awareness to my connection to God.

Of course, there are great benefits to living in this mode of awareness. I begin to live in a place where ideas abound. Solutions for complex, seemingly unsolvable problems are apparent and easy to execute. Staying in a place where I know that there are infinite possibilities allows me to make the most empowering choice in a given moment. This practice results in increased income, as well as harmonious relationships and fulfilling work. I begin to enjoy every moment and those moments add up to a happy life.

Reason 1: I Love To Give

The most important reason why I tithe is because I love to give. I don’t know if there have been any scientific studies on the hormones released when something is given, a hug, a smile, money, but it’s just euphoric. Part of it has to do with the idea of feeling able, knowing that I am fortunate enough to give. Part of it has to do with making a difference. I know that my tithe will be used to enhance someone’s life. Chances are many people would benefit. I just enjoy doing it!

Why do you give of your time, talent and treasure?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

MamaDuck August 15, 2006 at 9:29 am

All excellent reasons, thanks for the reminders!

Have a great day!


Graham English August 15, 2006 at 11:53 am

A mentor once told me that he would wake up in the morning and ask, “how much money can I give today?” That motivated him to work hard and smart.

Thanks for the list.


Jersey Girl August 15, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Giving does give you a euphoric feeling. I agree!


Sarakastic August 15, 2006 at 1:50 pm

Something I remember from my childhood “You are not giving God 10% He is giving you 90%”


Shawn August 18, 2006 at 2:18 pm

Wow, great list. I agree completely!


Nneka August 19, 2006 at 6:15 pm

Thank you all for stopping by and commenting. I had to write this as a board member for my church. I had no idea Darren’s project will coincide.

Thank you again for visiting and taking the time to comment.


Scott Howard August 31, 2006 at 8:10 am

This is an excellent read. I agree with Sarakastic, everything we have is from God and we can never give Him enough worship for what He has done and giving our money to Him is definately a way to worship. I have some posts about finances if you want to check them out here [...]


Robin Calamaio September 19, 2008 at 9:44 pm

As a pastor, there are two things I have never done. I never presented this “new teaching” – as “the tithe,” and I never laid this man-made concoction on the brethren – claiming God requires 10% of one’s gross earnings to go in cash to the local church for life. What I have taught is: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim 5:8) and “Owe nothing to anyone” (Ro 13:8).


Gwaine February 26, 2009 at 6:56 pm

[...]“As a pastor, … I never presented this “new teaching” – as “the tithe,” and I never laid this man-made concoction on the brethren”[...]

Hi Robin, 1 Tim. 5:8 and Rom. 13:8 are excellent texts for balancing other aspects of Christian living. However, they have nothing to do with tithing; nor did the apostle pen those words to denounce stewardship and committed Christian giving in one’s local church. You may not be comfortable with tithing, but that’s no reason to have reacted the way you did.

Interesting article nonetheless – thanks nneka.


Jo April 16, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Absolutely LOVED this post!
Way to stir us up!
There is no way we can ever out give God!!



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