“Leadership, part 2”

1 Timothy 6:3-21 closes Paul’s letter to his protégé, Timothy.  People aspire to leadership for many reasons: affirmation and popularity, power, influence and probably many more.  Pastors are often greatly appreciated people for they handle those spiritual transition times in our lives – birth, death, marriage, and baptism – so often receive gifts of appreciation.  In Kenya I would receive gifts of beans at harvest time or three eggs wrapped in a piece of newspaper when the ladies visited after the death of my father.  Probably at Paul’s time hospitality for the visiting evangelist and financial gifts for their travels were not uncommon.  Paul warns about leaders being blinded by money.

         Financial misunderstandings are common in church arguments.  We would hear from the person entrusted with taking the money to the bank, “I ate it!”  On the way to the bank the carrier discovered a relative had died and had to give away the funds he had to help with the funeral.  Who gets scholarship for retreats unsettles those who did not ask but struggled to raise the money to cover costs.  Should the council spend money to paint?  So many little arguments arise and divide people. (6:9-10)

         Greed leads to strife.  We all know the modern day stories of evangelists who raise money only we find out that there are jets, mansions, and a luxurious lifestyle from donations.  There is always the temptation to not offend the rich and not preach passages that might offend.  I’m sure back in early Christianity when faith could mean your life, we might be tempted to say, “money speaks.” (6:4-5)

         Paul reminds Timothy that the goal is “godliness with contentment. (6:6) The millionaire Rockefeller when asked how much more money he needed, famously replied, “One more dollar.”  Money can shift our focus from God to ourselves and our needs and wants.  Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”

         Yesterday we looked at the qualifications for leadership and today seems to be more the motives of leadership.  Money is so important in our lives that we must guard our hearts to not allow it to influence the truth we seek to live.  As we receive, may we be generous to others.  May money not draw us into quarrels, into greed for “more”, and tint our perspectives.  May we be generous and grateful for all God has given us, the blessings, and never forget that he walks with us during the hard times when finances are challenging.  Blessings on your challenges today.

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