“Simply stated, tithing will change your life.” ~Edwene Gaines
Last Sunday, two of my closest friends and I went to see prosperity guru Edwene Gaines speak at a Barnes and Noble in Union Square. Had someone told me a month ago that I’d run straight up to this woman I hadn’t so much as heard of back then and hand her a fifty dollar bill, I would have started searching the floor for my remaining marbles.
I was introduced to Edwene via the website for the Agape International Spiritual Center, where she had recently given a prosperity workshop. Hearing this wise, sassy, uproariously funny woman speak is more fun than a trip to an amusement park. Rare can someone make me laugh that hard and teach me at the same time; it is like watching educational stand-up. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to see this woman live?!” and went to her personal site, where I joyfully discover she’d soon be in New York. I couldn’t wait to hear more about “The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity,” which is the title of her book.
I was surprised that much of the information she presented was new to me. I knew virtually nothing about the first law, tithing, which I’d previously mistaken as a fancy word for donating to charity. I am a giver by nature, and have always donated to various causes close to my heart. Little did I know that by doing so when I lacked the funds, I was energetically creating more need in my own life.
Some of you may already be privy to the knowledge that tithing and charity are not mutually interchangeable, and neither is the energy behind them. For those who don’t, tithing is giving one-tenth of all incoming money, including monetary gifts, back to “God” by sending it wherever one has been fed spiritually. It is circulating the first ten percent of all money taken in, before paying bills or doing anything else with it. This is done in faith, trusting that each dollar sent out will return, and it will bring some friends when it does.
When Edwene learned about tithing, she was struggling financially, subsisting on peanut butter and crackers and donning shoes that had holes in them. If she could muster the courage to do so it in that situation, and is now here to swear by it, I supposed I could give it a shot. While she no longer gives to receive, she is the first to admit she started this practice to increase her prosperity. She did not see immediate results but within three months her income doubled and within six, it tripled.
She was very clear about how this differs from charity, which she recommends doing later, when one actually has the money to give (this way it does not create more lack). Tithes are only meant to be sent where one is fed spiritually. She has given to churches, spiritual centers, musicians, authors…literally anywhere she was inspired. Her description made tithing sound like fun, and I immediately sat to list all the places and individuals I wanted to send money the next time I made or received some.
Edwene suggested making a list of every unusual thing that happens in the first six months of tithing. My list is already rather sizable, considering I just began this practice.
My first tithe was $2 from $20 my mom insisted I take to put gas in my car. The very next day, I received my first sober transport in months. While I was in Florida, a received a call offering a sober companion job in Soho. While on that assignment, I was offered yet another transport. True, this work has always been cyclical, and it would be easy enough to say that’s just the nature of the beast, if I didn’t fully comprehend at this point that my attention and energy are the only things creating or blocking opportunities at any given time. Was feeling good about tithing creating this sudden abundance of work or was it the tithing itself?
If the rash of opportunities out of nowhere hadn’t been enough to prove there is something to this tithing concept (it was), two other things occurred that blew my mind.
I went out with a relative who used to lecture me about my money habits. He was pretty much the last person I would have expected to tell the court summons story of my last post to, but there I sat, providing all the details. For the first time while discussing money with him, I did not feel judged, which I understand was a reflection of the fact that I no longer judge myself. I told him about Edwene’s workshop, sharing about tithing and the role of forgiveness in allowing prosperity and we spoke about many other deep and inspirational topics that night. When I got home, I saw a $100 bill in my handbag.
“Did you put money in my bag??” I texted him. This did not seem likely at all, but I could not imagine any other way it could have gotten there, short of landing from the heavens.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Did it have a message on it?”
I looked more closely at the bill, which read “I’m Tithing.”
Coming from anyone, this would have brought tears to my eyes. But coming from this man, who used to lecture me on money, it literally made me cry.
A few days later, I received an envelope in the mail from a client who I have not coached in months. Enclosed was $100, cash. Her accompanying note began, “I don’t know why but I felt compelled to send you a gift today.”
When does that happen?!? Apparently, when you tithe, quite frequently.
So far, I have tithed to Agape, a former prosperity teacher and the waitress who served inspiration alongside my dinner last weekend. I am about to send a check to Jennifer McLean, who offers the “Healing With The Masters” series for free every few months; the fact that she does this inspires me even more than the wonderful interviews she conducts. But the most rewarding tithe of all? That was walking straight up to Edwene before the workshop at Barnes and Noble and handing her a $50 bill, far less than what the free 2.5 hour lecture she gave at Agape was worth, let alone the one she was about to give us in New York.
As a minister, she blessed my gift, praying for it to return to me ten-fold. At least I think that’s what she said; I was so caught up in the excitement of meeting her, I really couldn’t remember the specifics afterwards.
Hours later, I approached her again to get a book signed. She actually remembered my name! That impressed me so much, as she’d met so many people that day, and I felt compelled to tell her that I love her. Exactly as my late beloved Grandma would have, she took my hands in hers and responded, “I love you more, Darling.”
Oh, the tithe I plan to give this woman when I see her in October!