A Gospel for the Greedy?

greedy giraffe

greedy giraffe (Photo credit: Cyberlemur)

The media describes his ministry as “fishy” and the reports eventually provide the evidence of foul play. An investigation is ugly, long and drawn out, it reveals another professing minister of the gospel has succumbed to the temptation to dip a little too deep into the money bag.

It’s no secret that all who claim to be ministers of the gospel today aren’t serving with the right spirit that the Bible describes as expedient to Jesus’ body. Again and again, a survey of Scripture reveals His true servants will possess His heart and mind, not an unquenchable covetousness for power, fame, and fortune.

When it becomes obvious that some have fallen prey to the lusts of personal gain, our first reaction is usually to attack their motive for service, even questioning whether their faith is real or not.

While we are called to seek instruction from those who live and teach the truth, and understanding that the Bible offers strict warnings to those who abuse their position, there is an interesting situation that surfaces in the life of Paul that gives much guidance on how we respond to such people.

As Paul addressed the church of Philippi, two seeming obstacles had presented themselves; he was in prison and there were wolves presenting themselves as shepherds before the flock.

To both of these Paul sees no obstacles, but finds that the gospel is going forward just as planned. As far as his imprisonment, Paul declares that because of his chains, the Imperial Guard is now aware of (1:13), and spreading the news of his being locked up for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this elite group was to announce the coming of a new Emperor, Caesar. What better group than these to proclaim the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords? In Paul’s mind, he understood that God had requisitioned these to proclaim that Jesus had taken His rightful throne.

As for those who were sharing the gospel for the wrong reasons… to personal gain, Paul finds a positive stance to embrace. “Even though they’re doing it out of envy and strife, the news of Jesus is being spread!” ~ Philippians 1:18

Paul’s Lord was not limited or stifled in the least by the fleshly desires of men. Paul’s attitude in everything, both what could be considered good and bad, sounds interestingly familiar to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.

His brothers abused him and sold him into slavery, a wicked woman accused him and had him thrown in prison, but when all was said and done in God’s timeline, Joseph ended up with much authority and in effect, literally saving the nation of Israel.

When approached by his brothers, he declared, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”

How wise would we be to see all that encompasses our lives as God at work doing good? Even when it doesn’t look or feel like it?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation… it’s life-giving work will not be compromised by the efforts of men.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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5 Responses to A Gospel for the Greedy?

  1. Rob Barkman says:

    Mike, thanks for bring up a very inportant subject. You have clearly outlined the great need of those who are in the ministry. It is so sad to see those who minister with the wrong motives bringing only harm to the cause of Christ. Lord bless you brother.

  2. Pingback: A Gospel for the Greedy? « Inspirational Christian Blogs

  3. writinggomer says:

    Great post Mike. It is a shame how many have turned to the pursuit of money and other tangible things in place of their true calling…serving God. Worse then this is that these folks do not seem to understand the deep price they will pay for having done these things. They may fool the people, but they will never fool God.
    Anyone working with the churches money must have the churches and therefore the people of that church, best needs in mind.
    I think however that it bears remembering that those who teach, and those who serve in higher positions of authority are just as susceptible to temptation as the rest of us, which is why safeguards need to be in place as mentioned by ptl2010.

  4. It is our responsibility to go where we are told to go and to speak the words we are given and to do the things that reveal the love, mercy and grace of Christ. We sow and sometimes we are called to water and fertilise or to put another blast in the quarry, and sometimes even to reap, but it is all HIS work and unless HE is in control, it will fail.

    I am disappointed, sad and at a loss to understand things we hear about preachers ‘going off the rails’. I pray for them, but I am accountable only for MY response. When we who are blood-bought, adopted children of the living God show forth His likeness, people will have a reason to believe the truth and not be swayed by the few who disgrace the name of Christ.

  5. ptl2010 says:

    It is not only the ministers who may be greedy. Sometimes it is the executives who are in the organizations who are the ones (may be more professional in financing and logistics) who may initiate greedy initiatives. We must remember what Christ said “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves..” Mark 10:16
    Before trusting and giving wholeheartedly, ask the Lord to help us have discernment and not be gullible especially when there is group think or group behavior and pressure on people.

    We must not however,
    – be so phobic to be cheated that we do not move to support those whom the Spirit points us to, who deserve our support.
    – allow the few villains to tarnish all God’s ministers and organizations.

    We must require accountability with proper corporate governance for the funds and resources which God’s ministers and churches receive.

    God help us in a world that is focused on the now rather than eternity.

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