Fulfilling the biblical teaching that there is nothing new under the sun, the Scriptures contain warnings that are directly relevant to us today regarding the selling of the precious privilege of the pulpit for that which is passing away, the things of this world. When giving Timothy guidance regarding the qualifications for the eldership Paul taught:
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:2-3).
The final qualification is not that he be poor. It is not that he lack any and all business sense, or have some kind of martyr complex. It is the love of money that is in view. This seems to have been a component of Pauls teaching, because he would later use the phrase in a similar fashion, one that suggests he knows Timothy was quite familiar with it:
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).
It is not money that is the problem. Money is used by God every day to provide for His people and accomplish good. But it is the love of the means of this blessing that Paul warns about. Some people love what they can do with money, others just simply love money for the power they think it gives them. A person with money becomes a little god, shaping and making his own reality, his own future, or so he thinks. It is that kind of love of money that is a root, (not the root as the KJV puts it) of all sorts of evil. The sins the love of money can engender are many, even in the context of the church. Dishonesty, perverting justice and truth, showing partiality, all can be traced directly to an improper love of money, which itself is a manifestation of a rejection of Gods will and purpose in our lives, a refusal to be content with what God has given to us. While this is vitally important for leaders, in this they only mirror the truth that all believers are called to this, for as the writer to the Hebrews said, “Make sure that your character if free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). How can we be content in a world that is constantly seeking to make us discontent? The same text tells us: we have God’s promise that He will never desert us, He will never forsake us. He is our treasure, He is our portion, and if we delight in Him, we have all we need. As the hymn writer well said, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” What commands our hearts will determine our desires, and if the hearts of God’s ministers are filled with joy at their task, there will be no place for the love of the things of the world, including money.