1 Timothy 6:9-10 says:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
And so the caution rightly heralded in churches is not to love money.
Loving money is when you are willing to sin to gain it. When money becomes an idol for you. When people around you suffer because of your pursuit for it. In the end, the above passages actually says that you’ll likely wander from the faith and eventually cause great harm to yourself, if you seek money.
So definitely don’t do that.Loving #money is when you are willing to #sin to gain it. Click To Tweet
A Dangerous Culture
But it seems to me like we’ve gone too far on the other side of the spectrum.
We’ve created a dangerous culture in our churches which almost spurns the thought of gaining wealth. Any mention of wealth or giving in a sermon, and you immediately gain backlash (whether it’s said out loud or just inside an angry person’s head).
They’ll say, “All that church cares about is money” or “I wasn’t comfortable with the way the pastor brought up money.”
But come on!
We’ve got to understand how much the Proverbs, the Gospels, and much of the rest of the Bible, too, dealt with the issue of money. It’s clearly important to God that we use the resources He’s given us well.
If we don’t talk about it, learn about it, we’ll use it wrong.
So let’s stop judging church leaders for teaching on the subject.
And let’s stop making people feel bad who are seeking wealth, as opposed to loving money.
You can seek wealth the right way, when you are thankful for the way God has provided for you. When you work hard and gain skills which honor God, but also allow you to make a great amount of money. When you have upstanding values from Scripture which dictate how you obtain money. When people around you flourish due to your large amount of money.
Giving is Legitimate Spiritual Gift
Romans 12:3-8 lists a bunch of spiritual gifts given to us to use to serve the church. Among the gifts listed, is giving.
Some people just seem to be wired to make profits at anything they put their hand to. They’re just so good at making money.
It’s kind of unsettling sometimes, no?
Well, those people need to be the ones who seek wealth, because it comes naturally (or supernaturally, I guess I should say). And if God puts generous hearts in them and molds their character to be selfless, then the church has an asset in that person.
As valuable an asset as a pastor or elder or other kind of minister.
Taking Care of a Church Takes Money
Obviously, there are overhead expenses and operating costs when you run a church. First of all, you gotta pay for the building and the maintenance of it (Unless you do church like me and my crew, then you are thankfully able to avoid that massive expense).
And if you’re going to take 1 Timothy 5:17-18 seriously, then you probably pay your leaders at least something. There’s another expense, which is usually a large portion of the budget.
And then anytime one of your people have an urgent need – maybe they’ve experienced some kind of crisis, a death, a loss of a job, a string of unfortunate events – your church will rightly want to help those people financially.
Add anything other expenses you can think of – technology, books, food, discipleship or leadership development material, sound equipment, supporting church planting and leadership development around the world, whatever else.
But in order to take care of all these things, you will have to have a source of income for the church. Those who seek wealth just might have excess (I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?). And with their excess, they can and should be generous to help the church.Humility and fear of the Lord bring #wealth and honor and life. #Proverbs 22:4 Click To Tweet
Doing Good Works Takes Money
And churches should never leave it at the internal operations.
Churches must expand into the community and take care of those in need. A robust life-rebuilding program. An anti-sex trafficking ministry. Resources to help your church families take in a single-mother and her children. Building a resource center. Other generosities to other non-profits or needs in the community.
But all those things take money.
And you need people who effectively obtain wealth to take on major initiatives to serve your city.
Raising Children Also Means Passing on Skills
Gaining skills in making money is a biblical concept. Here’s a brief survey:
- Humility and fear of the Lord
bring wealth and honor and life.
- The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
- Command [the rich] to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:18-19
It is important for those who seek wealth to benefit their own families, too! First by providing for them. But also by passing those learned skills to their children.
Children need to know that that making money is a wonderful gift from God. And they need to learn how to do it, so they can honor him in the pursuit of wealth without loving money.
Also published on Medium.