“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By David E. Ficken, pastor and emergency services chaplain

Praise be to God … through the tithe

“… And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand. Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” (Gen. 14:20 NIV)

I was recently going through a big tub of things my mother had collected from the early years of my life.

In this tub, there were all kinds of teeth I had lost. There were art assignments and book reports. There was even a handbook from McDonald’s showing the minimum wage I earned when I first started working there at age 16. I even found proof that we won conference my one and only year on the football team as a sophomore.

And then, would you believe it, I found my bank account registers. They showed all my transactions from the early days of my first paper route.

It had been my first job at age 12. My older brother had the afternoon Milwaukee Journal route in our neighborhood, and I inherited it.

We had to buy the newspapers, deliver them, and then collect the fee for them. Collecting was not always fun, particularly when people didn’t pay, but it was exciting when I could count my profits.

Right there in that bank account register was my donation to our church. My mom taught me the concept of tithing from the start of that first paper route.

“Give to God a tithe out of the bounty He has bestowed.” That lesson has always stuck with me.

Later in life, I found Gen. 14:20 (printed above) tucked away in Scripture. This passage about Abram was encouraging, like finding my register in the plastic tub.

“Praise be to God Most High…” the words of Genesis 14:20 proclaim.

Unfortunately, we do not always feel like praising God. This shows in a more visible way when we have a hard time willingly giving back to God, no matter how little our gain.

There are many different things going on in peoples’ lives that make this difficult, and there are also many different attitudes and thoughts and beliefs on tithing. We have freedom in Christ Jesus to give as we are led.

I’m writing this devotion to give thanksgiving to God for the lessons from my parents on tithing. They passed on a legacy of giving freely.

In my tub, I even found a college financial aid application detailing their monthly budget and giving.

At the end of the day, I am personally thankful for the many, many ways God has showed His goodness and mercy to me in the years of plenty and in the years of want.

I pray that your life be one of praise to God in this area too — in your checkbook register and your heart toward stewarding God’s resources.

May He use your eyes to see the gifts He gives, even when it might be hard. I wholeheartedly pray for you if this is one of the areas in which you struggle.

May God grant you a sure confidence in Him in all things.

Lord, Jesus Christ, give grace where it is needed in the finances of your workers. Give hope where finances have been hard, and peace when there are times of anxiety or financial tribulation. Lord, guide us to see You and Your gifts in everything we have and receive. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.