The joy of sharing abundance with others

One of the articles in Economics In An Intellegent Universe (IC#2)
Originally published in Spring 1983 on page 18
Copyright (c)1983, 1996 by Context Institute

The giving of gifts – freely, without any guarantee of return – is surely among the oldest of human activities (as well as one that comes naturally to small children). In the following article, Clem and Nancy share their experience with the particular systematic form of giving called tithing. The Federowiczes live in Erie, Pennsylvania.

TITHING is a way of life for us now. We’ve been doing it for about 6 years, and yes, we have had some marvelous economic-type "miracles" to point to. The two biggest, most economically impressive events, happened after quitting a job for moral and ethical reasons (no longer wishing to participate in the production of materials to be used in fighter planes and bombers). We lived for a whole year with no income at all! Somehow our savings tided us over while we sorted out priorities and values, and we moved back to our home town. But the most memorable event occurred when, after selling our old home, at a price which we and the buyers thought was fair, (and living off savings for a year in the interim) we were able to buy a house, just as nice as the old one, for cash! No loans, no mortgage at our new location – even though we did have a mortgage on the old house – and all this at the age of 30. Some people would call it coincidence, good timing or just plain dumb luck, but that is not the way we see it.

Yet as great as the economic benefits of tithing have been for us, they are really only of secondary importance, because the greatest benefits have been spiritual and emotional. For us, tithing is an affirmation every paycheck when 10% is set aside, or every time we send out money from the tithing fund – an affirmation that we believe in the law and the power of love. We allow ourselves to be channels of blessings and love, and as it flows out from us, we are constantly replenished and renewed emotionally, spiritually, financially by the Flow. It’s kind of like being part of a mountain stream of clear, sparkling, refreshing water; whereas clinging to our "stuff" is more like being in a stagnant pond with attendant decay and darkness.

We feel that we are plugging into higher order laws which transcend the apparent reality of the physical world and economic conditions, by our tithing attitude. It is a great feeling of freedom to realize we are not bound to the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, or banking interest rates. It is also a real source of joy to share our abundance with others.

We give to individuals and groups around the world which are working toward: eradication of hunger and disease; global harmony via direct political action as well as by the spread of knowledge and ideas; ecologically proper use of and respect for Earth’s resources and our fellow creatures; deeper understanding of man’s spiritual nature and mankind’s enlightenment. But we also give to help a friend buy cross-country skis, because we feel that the peace and joy she will discover while gliding across a snowy field will resonate throughout us all in one way or another – and the world will benefit. Tithing contributes to a definite feeling of being a planetary citizen, and a caring, contributing human being.

As mentioned previously, tithing can still be a challenge from time to time. Actually it is more like an early warning system, because if we become afraid to let go of some money, that is a clear indication that we are a little off-track spiritually speaking. It’s time to get our act together again and really examine our attitudes and priorities. For us tithing is not some kind of magic ritual to ensure wealth and happiness, but it is rather just one aspect of lives we are striving to live in Light, Love and Peace.

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