This was written over ten years ago by Sripad Rsabdev Prabhu.
To honor the 9th anniversary of his disappearance we wanted to share this article with all of you.


What's it all about?

tithe;tith ing v
1:to pay or give a tenth part of esp. for the support of the church or clergy
2:to levy a tithe on
syn:see SEVA
tithe n
1:a tenth part of one's annual income contributed voluntarily, esp. for the support of a religious organization.
2:TENTH; broadly:a small part

Spiritual Economics – The Practice of Tithing

Rsabdev Prabhu

by Rsabdev Das

It is often said that our lives are God's gift to us, and that what we do with our lives is our gift to God. How are the large churches that take up whole city blocks built and maintained? It is through the contributions of their members, who deeply feel the necessity of these institutions. They crave the benefits that these institutions can give them, their families, and humanity. The church or temple is their connection to the spiritual world, their pride of accomplishment, and the source of the joy at the center of their lives. It would be unbearable for them to live in this world without this heart of their social and religious lives.

Better to give than to receive

For those with the conscious perception that life is not for increased acquisition but for the unfolding of their conscious development, the fulfillment of the biblical proverb,"It is more blessed to give than to receive." becomes a way of life. The practice of giving (tithing) opens the doors to the service world. It is not enough to give our possessions – we must give that which is of ourselves. The tithe is not a tax on our labors, but an acknowledgement that our energy – and even our breath itself – is the gift of grace from our ultimate benefactor. One who acknowledges the grace of God as the source of all his blessings knows that distributing those gifts not only increases the opportunities to give, but it also increases the capacity to continue giving. By the practice of tithing, we take our place in the circle of giving. We cannot refuse the gifts of God. Our best interest then, is to humbly receive them and reciprocate gratefully. The tither often finds himself challenged to increase his giving to match the influx of good fortune. On the other hand, miserly hoarding can never counteract our diminishing fortune once our giving is curtailed.

One of the greatest problems in the practice of tithing, or voluntarily giving a promised percentage of our income to the support of a religious institution, is knowing which organization to give it to. The answer is simply to give our tithe to the place where we get our spiritual nourishment. We pay for our gas at the service station where we pump our gas, although that gas may come from the same truck, the same company, and ultimately, the same earth as the station across the street – the payment is made where the fuel is delivered. This analogy is useful to a point, to illustrate that the deliver system for spiritual knowledge has a structure that must include that recipient's participation. If there is no predication by the congregation, there can be no church.

The amount of the tithe is a matter of the heart.
The primary consideration is that whatever we promise is fulfilled or exceeded.

Reciprocation is not just necessary to finance the community property and events, it is the purpose of the practice itself: our hearts will be where our treasures are laid up. Since we cannot hide the true place where we "lay up our treasures" from ourselves, it is not possible to convince even our own minds of our spiritual identity without the right practice. We have to "put our money where our mouth is!"

What is a Tithe?

The tithe is not like a love-offering or a spontaneous donation. These have their own place and purpose. A tithe is a promise, a bond to the receiving institution, like the commitment made in marriage or in being a parent. Its nature is nurturing, long-term, and binding. The spiritual bond is internal and -personal – if the tithe is done publicly, the spiritual benefit is dissipated in public name and fame. The blessing of the tithe is contained in the giving itself. Since the tithe is recognition of everything that we have already received, any attempt to receive more credit as a result of the tithe voids the act as just another business deal. Yet even though we try, the spiritual nature is reciprocation personified, and it is impossible to avoid receiving additional benefits as the spiritual community flourishes. It is difficult to contain this kind of commitment to the contribution of money alone. The contributor will inescapably be drawn into a closer relationship with the community or shared interest.

We can see that participation is the price necessary to build a spiritual community that endures and sustains the needs of more than one generation. The tithe is an instrument that provides a service opportunity for the donor and gives the receiving institution the financial security for long-term planning and improving the services that it provide to the community.

How much to give?

The amount of the tithe is a matter of the heart. The tithe has traditionally been 10% of gross income. The main consideration is that whatever we promise is fulfilled or exceeded. It is better to promise a little than to open the potential for self-abuse by not meeting our goal.

We ask all who have some faith in the line of Srila Govinda Maharaj to join our community and pledge their support.

Thank you

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