This blog is intended to create a dialogue about learning to receive with grace and ease.

So much has been written about the importance of giving that we forget that in order to give,

someone has to be receiving.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Where Do You Stand on Tithing?

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 
Malachi 3:10
Many churches encourage their members to tithe, which traditionally means to give the first ten percent of your gross earnings to the church or entity which feeds you spiritually.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, tithing was the way the Hebrew people sustained the Levites who served as priests, rather than as shepherds or other forms of laborers who earned wages.  But is the practice relevant today?  Is it necessary in order to receive?

I’ve heard many sermons on this topic, from a variety of churches I’ve attended over the years.  Although they always encourage it, most have not gone so far as to say tithing is necessary to receive, while others have suggested that it’s sufficient.  Usually the verse from Malachi shown above is referenced as evidence that it’s a sound practice that will ultimately bless you.

From my personal experience and observation, I’ve concluded that tithing is neither necessary nor sufficient in order to receive.  However, I have been a faithful and joyful tither for over ten years and have no intention of quitting.  Tithing just makes sense to me: ten percent to God, ninety percent to me.  How many professionals do you know of who take only a ten percent cut?

I don’t know who said it first, but the expression “you can’t out-give God” rings true for me every time I hear it.  Although not everyone who tithes is wealthy, I don’t know of anyone who went broke tithing either.  While tithing may not be the only thing we need to do to manifest prosperity, I think it’s a step in the right direction, especially when money appears tight.  For me it’s a tangible indication that I’m putting my trust in the one true, unlimited Source.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Watch Your Mouth -- Part Two

As you may have suspected from last week’s article, the list of limiting phrases it would be good to avoid is long.  Here are a few more I’ve encountered:

·       “The other half” -- when people identify another “half” that they’re excluded from they’ve found yet one more way to restrict their ability to receive.  A small consolation I suppose is that they’re not alone.  If the Berlin Wall can come down, so can any imagined dividing line between us and those who seem to have more we do at the moment.  There is no “us” and “them”; we are one.

·       “I can’t” -- this pronouncement is usually code for “I won’t” or “I don’t want to.”  I remember a situation when for years a certain administrator claimed he couldn’t possibly take Labor Day off due to some scheduling requirements his employer had in place.  He got promoted and the very first year his replacement was in his former job she managed to take Labor Day off.  The word “can’t” limits our options and possible outcomes, so be particularly discerning with its use.

·       “My little guardian angel” - I like to visualize divine help for myself or others by calling forth our little guardian angels to watch over us.  I caught my phrasing recently and decided to replace it with “my mighty guardian angel.”  It makes sense when you think about it.  What could be more powerful than Divine assistance?

I hope my lists have raised your awareness.  After all, the most read book in the world begins with, “In the beginning was the word…”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Watch Your Mouth

Am I bringing back memories?  Did you have an elder who reminded you to “watch your mouth” if you said something out of line?  Today I suggest that you watch your mouth in the sense of the expressions you use.  I’ve caught myself or others using this limiting language which in the end only short circuits our ability to receive:

·       “Fixed income” -- many retired folks love to remind others that their ability to spend (give) is limited because their income is fixed.   While they may feel some sense of relief that others won’t expect much from them, this declaration severely limits the flow of good into their lives, since apparently they see the government, their former employer, or their IRA as their source. Roger has told me stories of how over the years he watched in amazement as his aging mother received income from the most unexpected places, just when she needed it.  Looks like she knew who her Source was!

·       “I’m just a poor [whatever] -- this is the working person’s corollary to the first phrase.  I heard a teacher state this once to explain why he didn’t have a cell phone (at a time when every adult I knew managed to have one).  Decide right now that you are not and never will be “poor” in any sense of the word.  There, done!

·       “Working at” or “struggling with” - one of my wonderful ministers, Rev. Dr. MitziLynton, observed for me how often I chose this phrasing.  No wonder I was exhausted and frustrated at the time!

Join me this week and let’s listen carefully.  It’s often easier to catch what someone else says, so enlist someone close to you to listen to what you say.  Let me know what you hear, and I’ll add them to my Watch Your Mouth list.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Second Chances

Last week I wrote about times when I was presented with opportunities to resolve situations that troubled me.  I said that I had decided to wait and that soon chances to rectify these independent conditions were more or less thrust upon me.  What if I had missed this divine timing?  Would it have been too late?

I don’t think so.  From what I have observed in my own life, and from watching those close to me, if we don’t get the message the first time, Spirit has an infinite number of ways of reaching us.  And unlike us, Spirit never wearies or grows inpatient.  (Must have something to do with existing in the realm of eternity!)  It occurs to me that, in fact, I may have already made a misstep by waiting to act.  Perhaps the reason my encounters with these significant others were so unavoidable was because I had overlooked my Source’s subtler messages earlier.  It makes no difference. We always get a second chance with Spirit.

I find this realization comforting, not just for my own growth, but also when my attempts to help others fail.  If I was truly called to assist someone and my efforts were unsuccessful for some reason, I have no need for concern.  It’s not all up to me, no matter what I may think at the moment.  Yes, life is easier when we’re receptive the first time around.  But if we’re still learning to receive with grace and ease, we’ll get another chance.