“not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:3).
1 Timothy 3:3 continues with another quality that should mark the life of an overseer: he should not be someone who is covetous (KJV) or “…greedy for wealth and its inherent power” (AMP). This represents an important qualification for a congregational leader. You see, a person who is driven by a covetous desire to accumulate financial wealth is usually motivated to make inappropriate choices that are consistent with that goal. While such motivations may be hidden from others, nothing is hidden from God.
Another problem is that a leader who holds this mindset is someone who sets a poor example for the church. Consider Jesus’ cautionary message from the Gospel of Luke…
“…He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ‘
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:15-21).
So this message regarding monetary greed and church leadership should encourage everyone to set the right financial priorities. Jesus also provided us with another important reminder on this subject in Matthew 6:24…
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV).
We’ll return to this subject once again in the final chapter of 1 Timothy. However, we can preview that section from chapter six with a look at a well-known (and often misquoted) portion of Scripture…
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).