Monday, March 7, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (pt 11)

Greedy Leadership

The next characteristic in the list of qualifications for a leader of the church is one that we absolutely have cast aside to our own hurt.

Not Greedy of Filthy Lucre.
(Titus 1:7)

“Greedy of filthy lucre” is a phrase translating a single compound word from the Greek.

“Filthy lucre” shows up five times only in the New Testament.

Lucre” simply means ‘money’ in our language.

Modern man does not have a problem with money and trying to connect it with “filthy” is just too much of a stretch for most of us.

Of course, we’ve been told many times by those who only think they know the scriptures that “money is the root of all evil.”

Such is not the case, as 1 Tim. 6:10 plainly says it is “the love of money (that) is the root of all evil…”

I’ve met many men during my 40+ years in this walk who “went into the ministry” because it was a way to make a living.

I’ve also met more than a few who would not move into something they knew to be true, because they might “lose their job.”

Both of those speak of the hireling that Jesus denounced.
(John 10:12-13)

Both of those reveal a heart that is more fixed on money than on the call of God.

This degradation has filtered down into the pews among those who sit on the pulpit committee.

A quote from one: “When he hears how much we are offering, he won’t turn us down.”

Most of us are familiar with the call of God to a bigger church with a better salary. (Yes. It is possible—and probable—that many of those who have moved onward and upward had pure hearts in the matter. There is no way to judge this based only on the comparative size of the two congregations.)

So, what was Paul addressing with this injunction? He wrote that the leader must not be greedy of base gain?

How is that possible?

We’ve all heard of the pulpit committee that prays, “Lord, send us a poor, humble pastor. You keep him humble, and we will keep him poor.”

It is essentially no longer possible for us to determine beforehand if a man or woman is “greedy of filthy lucre.” However, it does soon become evident in the pleas for programs that the leader espouses.

Most of them, of course, are in the guise of "doing something for Jesus"; but the reality is usually for the glory of the leader.

How can you tell?

Don’t join or support one of the “visions” put before you, and see what happens.

Also, if we tithed according to the biblical standard, then there would be plenty of reason to consider this warning.

Just by way of reference, and to pique your awareness, did you know that Aaron received 1% of the gross national product of Israel? That would reveal any man’s tendency toward greed.

However, the church is not set up according to the principle of the tithe, though it is loudly proclaimed by many—especially by those who stand to benefit from it.

What about the abuses of the “prosperity gospel?” Does this not reveal greediness?

“Sow a seed into this ministry, and _________________(fill in the blessing of your choice.)”

Greed.

And the people flock to the ministers, having left all discernment behind years ago.

This lack of discernment was intimated in the opening statement of this article, and that lack has made us a laughing-stock to the world.

How to know ahead of time when calling a pastor? I don’t know.


What to do if discovered? Shed yourself of the pastor, either by firing or leaving.

Addendum:
As I was writing this, an article crossed my desk that speaks to this very issue. The article is written by one much better with words than I. While he doesn’t specifically address the issue of “pastor qualifications,” he does write forcefully about “greedy for filthy lucre.” It is a good read.

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