A few years ago, I received an unexpected check in the mail with a letter from Rev. Karyn Allen. We had traded services and I provided her with senior portraits for her daughter. Since I considered it an even trade, I didn’t expect a payment, so I was surprised when I received an unexpected check in the mail with a letter from her. She wrote that the photos inspired her so much that she felt called to tithe to me. I had heard of tithing to something other than a house of worship but had never experienced it personally up until that moment when I received Rev. Karyn’s letter.
Knowing this about her, I asked Rev. Karyn to explain a little more about how she approaches tithing. It has inspired me and I hope it inspires you.
From Rev. Karyn:
I approach tithing as a spiritual practice that works like a law. Since I am the one who is responsible for how circulation works in my life, I use the law to my advantage. God, the Universe, Spirit, is present in Its entirety no matter where I am, so as I prepare my tithe, I am reminded of the abundant energy of circulation that never stops.
I love to tithe to different sources when I am moved to do so. In addition to being inspired by spiritual organizations, people around me inspire me. During my time at Cal State Fullerton, I met a young man, Cory, who was in a couple of Religious Studies classes with me. He soaked in the lectures, participated intelligently in class discussions, and shared his wisdom with all of the other students. I asked him questions all the time and he joyfully shared the answers. I got to know Cory on a personal level, one of the advantages of being an older student and found out that Cory’s mother passed away a few years prior. During this time, he was taking care of his dad while attending college full-time and working as a football coach part-time. His career goal post-graduation was to become a high school teacher and football coach. This bright, hard-working, generous, young, Catholic man inspired me so much that I was moved to tithe to him. Along with a check, I wrote him a letter explaining why I was gifting him this money; being Catholic, he understood the law of tithing. He was moved to tears and was so grateful. We shared a very special moment and quite honestly, I was moved to tears myself.
Like Edwene Gaines, I have also tithed to restaurant servers who have inspired me, random people who have lifted me, and musicians who have moved me. I even sent a tithe to a young man who came to my rescue on the side of the road and changed my tire for me. This nice Christian young man was being of service to his fellow brothers and sisters, didn’t want any money for helping me so I tithed to him. I continue to broaden my awareness of the blessings that surround me and how they show up in my life and excitedly tithe accordingly.