Mark and the farmer

The farmer’s market was probably the busiest Mark had seen it all summer.  As he stood there in line, waiting to pay for the ten tomatoes he had carefully selected from the bunch, the owner of the stand approached him.

Gene was in his late sixties and dressed in worn, light-denim overalls and a large straw hat that had seen better days. His skin was tanned and weathered from years of farming in the sun.

“Back for more toms I see!  What do you plan to make with those this time?” Gene asked with a big smile.

“I’m not sure yet,” Mark, a wealthy local banker replied, “but probably a sauce of some sort.  We may just cut some up and eat them by themselves.”

“That sounds really nice,” Gene said, sitting a crate of cucumbers on the table, “even for those leftovers.”

Mark’s eyes widened a bit.  “What do you mean leftovers?  These are perfect.  It took me quite a while to pick through them all to find the best ones you have.”

Gene let out a small laugh, looked up at Mark, and pointed at the wooden sign hanging behind him.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9

“What you buy here isn’t the best I’m afraid,” Gene said.  “We give those away.”

Mark stared at him with a stunned expression. “So, how much are we talking about here?  Fifty? One-hundred tomatoes?”

“Oh, goodness no!” Gene quickly replied.  “I’d say more like a thousand.”

“One-thousand?” Mark burst out.  “Why in the…?  Do you give that much away from everything you grow?”

“We sure do.  Been doing it for going on 40 years now.  We don’t miss it really.  And it sure does help a lot of people.”

Mark stood there calculating, shaking his head.  “I just don’t see how you could possibly stay in business when you give away so much of your product.”

“I don’t know for sure,” Gene said.  “You’d have to ask the Boss.  I just work here.”


How are you using your job or business to help others? 

Does your business produce more product, provide extra services or donate money because it’s the right thing to do?


2 thoughts on “Mark and the farmer

  1. Thanks, Chris. I, of course, hold you all up as a role model! I found the verse interesting as well and very applicable for businesses. Practically speaking, I think businesses have to be intentional about giving in this manner, just as people do outside of work in their giving. For instance, MaryBeth and I budget our giving and although we’re not giving as much as we’d like, we enable giving by making it a priority and funding it within a budget. It takes both to do it, I believe. First, commit to doing it. Second, budget well to find out how much of your “first fruits” you can give. Otherwise, you may never commit to giving because you never know exactly where you stand financially. The stress and worry will keep you from ever pulling the trigger God wants us to pull.

  2. Wow. I love the different way of looking at tithing. As a business who gives a ton away, we can totally relate. Good stuff Joel!

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