As a pastor, I have a unique perspective on wealthy people in the church. For the most part, they are ordinary people. The primary time their wealth becomes an issue is when a problem needs to be solved. They rise to the occasion because they have experience in this area. The challenge is getting them to see the solution through Scripture instead of money. It becomes a time of instructing the rich.
“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,”
The issue of money in the church has been around since the beginning. How are those endowed with monetary wealth to conduct themselves? First, they are to be humble and not conceited. It’s natural for the rich to think their wealth makes them better than everyone else. Seldom is that true. Next, they are to fix their hopes squarely on God and not on their riches. Too many have fallen into the trap that their money can fix everything. Finally, they are to be known for their good works. Benevolence should be their reputation. Paul wanted Timothy, and every other minister who read this letter, to teach this.
Too often, churches think that their problems would disappear if they had money. Honestly, it would just cause another batch of them. Money is dangerous, but the heart behind the money is even more so. The allure of riches has tripped up many ministers and laypersons alike. It is to be used as a tool for God’s glory, not the object of our worship. If you can be trusted with a little, you can be trusted with much.
Instructing the Rich
How much would you change if you came into some wealth? Would you become a different person? Take a cue from Paul and focus on humility, awareness, and benevolence. The humble person understands that what they have is a gift from God. The sober person is aware of the reality of life. The benevolent person looks for opportunities to be a blessing. With this outlook on life, money has less chance of sinking its hooks into you.