There are so many reasons why Paul would write to Timothy that those in the office of overseer should not be a lover of money (1 Timothy 3:3).
Some immediate thoughts that come to mind:
- If you value money too much, you may put your day job or your desire for success above your ministry responsibilities.
- You may be tempted to use your position for financial gain.
- Often the love of money accompanies pride.
In fact, later in 1 Timothy, chapter 6, Paul goes on to say: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (v10). Warning that those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, ensnared by foolish and harmful desires, plunge into ruin and destruction. He even says that the desire for money, the craving of it, has caused some to walk away from their faith.
However, I think there is another aspect of money we should consider, in regard to ministry. Let’s face it, the majority of those who are serving in a ministry capacity are not doing so without some financial struggle in their own life. This struggle also happens in the ministry field. Who hasn’t dreamt of what a little extra money could mean to the ministry work that we do. What if we had an extra $500 or more in the budget. Oh the things we could do!
Therein lies the culprit… “with money” this is what “I” can do. While it is true that money is a means to get things done, such as purchasing supplies or bringing in guest speakers; money is also a tool of man. God doesn’t require money to do anything. We can throw a lot of money at our ministry, polishing the rough edges, making it attractive to others, filling the seats at our tables to the brim. But this is not the measure of success.
Spiritual growth is a measure of success. Bringing women to Christ is a measure of success. We create a ministry that serves in His name, we bring women to the Cross, and then watch as the Lord does a work in their life. He creates something new, He molds and shapes, and none of that costs a single dollar.
A shoe string budget it not a bad thing, it actually requires us to lean on God and trust in His provision for our ministry. It teaches us to be good stewards with the blessing we are given. It also challenges us to be creative with the gifts, talents, and blessings the Lord has given each of us to be used in the ministry as we serve others.
How much does it cost to welcome others into your home?
Do we need a huge budget to pray with another women?
What is the expense to sit and walk through the scriptures with a new believer?
When we begin to believe that money will solve all of our ministry problems, open up more opportunities, or even that money will give us a better pathway to bring people to Christ… we begin to blur the lines and our love for money grows because we become dependent on it.
This doesn’t mean that God won’t bless us financially, as a ministry. It’s a warning to not become dependent on it, to not allow it to become something that we crave. We may receive it, but remember we are being given something that is already God’s and called to use it in a way that honors Him.
A godly leader will recognize who the blessing is from, and what it is for. They will not compromise their faith, their family, their home, their values, their time, and their service in order to gain more money.