[management by God] the tithe and workplace success

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

December 8, 2010

Trust me, the last thing that I want to do is to write about the importance of tithing. But before you tune me out, I want you to consider this for a moment. As I continue with the Lessons from Proverbs, I come across a statement that I just can’t get around…

First, it’s important that you understand something about studying the Proverbs. While they’re filled with some of the greatest wisdom ever written, it is not actually considered Biblical “law” (like the 10 commandments). It’s wise counsel, that’s all. So I am not going to sit here and try to tell you that this is a Biblical commandment. But I do believe that this is wise advice.

With that said, let’s take a look at the Scripture…

Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
– Proverbs 3:9-10

As we break this down, let’s just start from the beginning. The statement to “honor the Lord” with our wealth (or “possessions” in some translations) simply tells us to lay out what we have not for ourselves, but to glorify God.

Also the reference to “the firstfruits” here is the firstfruits of the Old Testament Law, which is commonly cinsudered the tithe. That’s right, the legal 10% right off the top, before taxes or anything else.

The key here is this idea that we should be using what we have to bring honor and glory to God. Yes, the tithe is important, but what’s more important is that you are laying down your rights to all of it so that God can be glorified.

John Wesley notes that the result of this position is not that we would diminish our estate, but rather that it would increase. With statements like “filled with plenty” and “bursting,” the increase would seem to be great.

The fine line here is that this should not be our motive for honoring God, but simply the result of what happens when we do honor Him. What I really like to see is that the barn and vat references imply that our workplace is what is affected. When this passage was written these things were the workplace, not simply storage places like we would consider them today.

I believe that the key to this wisdom is that we should know our place.

Honoring God means that we’re not elevating ourselves as the rightful source of everything that we earn. We should first honor God. And if that means lifting up 10% to Him so that He can be glorified, then that’s what it means. God wants to bless us in all that we do, but He can’t do it if we don’t give Him any credit for what He is already doing in our lives.

I want to know what you think…

  • Do you have any experiences or testimonies about how tithing has affected your job?
  • How else, besides tithing, can we “honor the Lord” with our wealth/possessions (especially in the workplace)?

See more from the management by God series!

1 Comment

  1. rupzip

    Dan– tithing the workplace I believe means ‘setting aside’ our fruits and labors for God. He gave the work, he should get the credit.

    Now in the modern workplace, that’s not always easy to do. But the paychecks should be tithed, as well as our time. I set aside a break for just for prayer and meditation. I also take my lunch to read a Christian book.

    I like what you said about “laying down our rights”
    That kind of attitude of submission is rare in the workplace. I think I’m going to try it!


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[management by God] the tithe and workplace success

by Dan King time to read: 3 min