Matthew 6:19-21 says:“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It is said that the King James Version of the Bible references money approximately 140 times. The Bible has a lot to say about money, especially in terms of what our attitude towards money should be. When the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil, people often misunderstand this to mean that money itself is evil. I disagree. The Word does not imply that money in itself is evil, but if we love it, and will do anything to gain it, that is a heart condition, and that is what is referred to as evil. God is not concerned with the amount in your bank account. Rather He is concerned with your heart and your attitude towards money.
It is always heartbreaking to read about yet another ministerial scandal tied to financial impropriety. We need to guard our hearts in regards to our attitude towards money. I’d like to provide a few simple, yet effective tips that, if followed, will protect you from the temptation of Money, Money, Money.
- Live Simply
Avoid the celebrity status culture of ministry at all cost. Should you be blessed with abundant finances, take care of your family; ensure you have retirement plans in place, college funds for your children, etc. Once you have your house in order, be generous with what God has given you. Some would recommend that we follow the advice of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 6:7-10:
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 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.”
- Be Transparent
If a church or ministry employs you, be transparent about your finances. There should be nothing to hide. Especially within the context of a local church, there should be some mechanism for making the congregation aware of the finances of the church. In many churches there is a required business meeting that is scheduled at least once a year. This type of meeting allows for transparency, accountability, and trust within the congregation.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16 “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If you lead a ministry or pastor a church, do your best to ensure that money never passes through your hands. Delegate that responsibility to a finance committee that counts all monies, prepares deposits, and pays all bills. The less you have to handle ministry money day to day, the better. Of course, this aspect of your activities is completely separate from your role as leader in providing a vision and laying down guidelines as to how the ministry’s money should be invested and spent. You are responsible to act as the steward of the finances of your ministry, but you can do this without actually handling the money.
We are given the privilege and responsibility of partnering with God in building His Kingdom. Let’s do all we can to be above reproach. And when it comes to money, guard your heart by living simply, being transparent, and delegating.