3. A Minister’s Healthy Mindset
When we want to know what kind of person the leader of our local church should be, he should be a personification of this godly mindset and worldview. In other words, he should both live and teach this heavenly worldview instead of focusing always on the earthly, here and now.
First of all, the celestial should be occupying a whole lot more of his thoughts than earthly riches and such.
No person can enter heaven if he harbors the sin of Covetousness
Matt 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Mammon is riches, economic power. This is the idol that opposes God, and it is a deceptive thing that overpowers your life to become your god without you noticing it.
Matt 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Our understanding of riches is that those who seek to become rich are usually not even saved, despite what they consider themselves to be. Riches are a spiritual enemy that wars against our soul. Christ says that it is almost impossible for a rich man to be saved. He must attack his riches as an evil spiritual influence in his life, and he must out give what the tendency of gathering and retaining riches in his life is pushing for.
1Cor 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
When this character trait overcomes a person, it is idolatry against God. Do not be deceived. You cannot highly esteem riches and money, and more specifically, the high desiring of them, whether you actually obtain them or not is not important, it is the desiring and organizing your life around obtaining them as a priority of your life, that is the sin here.
The deceptiveness of Riches.
Earthly riches do not give real satisfaction. They do not last. They always without exception waste away and disappear. (Isa 55:1-2). Only the spiritual is eternal, and only the spiritual can give eternal satisfaction. Only in heaven will we have joy everlasting.
John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
Having money is not necessarily a sin, but the constant desire to have money and more money so as to fulfill your desires and lusts is a sin. Every man is to work to fulfill his own basic needs, his daily bread. But at some point, there is a line that crosses his basic needs into luxuries, and when your heart gets even more agitated over those things, your God is your covetousness.
If you measure how much time and energy and resources you spend on your relationship with God versus doing everything else to sustain life, you will get an idea. A godly person will work hard and long and then stop. He has done his best, and then he goes home and forgets work, and reflects on his God.
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Covetousness attracts and drags other sins into your life
The excessive desire to enjoy things is a sin that will allow and empower other sins in your life.
1Tim 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The “love of money”, not necessarily money, is the evil here. This high driving desire is what causes the problem. It overwhelms the life and reaches its black sin into all corners of life if you allow it to do so.
This sin is so dangerous that God commands us to cut off fellowship with Christians who manifest this in their life. The intent is that they are false Christians, people who are deceiving themselves into thinking that they are saved when they do not sufficiently understand salvation at all to even be considered a true Christian. True saints of God do not even allow this kind of conduct and character traits among themselves. This shows a high level of disdain and rejection of covetousness among true Christians.
Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
1Tim 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
The simple equation “money = godliness” is totally false and wicked. Because a person thinks that “God is blessing us materially, therefore we must be good with God” he is highly deceived in that thinking process. A true Christian follows God and does not direct his goals and aspirations towards monetary gain or riches, nor luxuries. He uses his “financial blessings” from God to invest in God’s work after he frugally covers his own living expenses.
1Tim 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 1Tim 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 1Tim 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
God gives riches so that first of all, we cover our own personal needs. This does not and should not extend to luxuries. Secondly, these riches are given to us so that we may have the ability to be a blessing to others. It is better (more blessed) to give than receive. All of this giving away, being a blessing to others will store up to our heavenly account eternal riches that we will enjoy throughout our eternal life in heaven. A true Christian is starkly contrasted with the world in that their mindset and they are living for eternity, not this world in the here and now. Yes, they get by, but their heart and vision are in eternity.
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
By definition, a believer has his vision placed on heavenly things, specifically Jesus Christ their Savior. Believers sacrifice heavily for eternity and just get by here in this life.
1Tim 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Matt 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
A Christian believes God, and that defines him. That is why he is saved because he believes God about Jesus dying on the cross for his sins. Belief defines him as a Christian, a “believer”. But much more than getting saved, and the gospel proclamation, a Christian is a person that believes what God says about everything. Therefore God says we cannot take anything from this world with us into eternity, we believe what God has said, and our lives reflect that as if we think it fully true.
We do not live storing up here on earth, but up in heaven.
We must understand that a true man of God (nor even Christians who should also follow this pattern of covetousness for their lives) will ever be greedy.
1Thess 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
1Tim 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Paul’s “cloke of covetousness” is the use of flattering words (words which mold to the desires of the hearer to make him feel good) in order for eventual financial gain. So many in the ministry use flattery in order to make people feel good, and after that, they fleece these people. My experience is that such a shallow Christian as to fall under this situation is many times a false Christian, and I observe that these people actually love this situation. They love it until God judges them and theirs, and their life falls apart, and God is not there for them. They don’t understand why. “All that money I donated to our church and pastor? Shouldn’t that get me a favor or two with God? Why didn’t it work?” It is because you donated to a false prophet with a slippery tongue that flatters, but is not a man of God, speaking the truth even if it hurts.
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The key here is that a true man of God has the economic aspect of stuff “on a back burner” if even on the stove at all. His words and decisions are not moved or shaped by whether they will be difficult for the rich or generous. He speaks the same thing no matter who’s toes he is going to step on.
Discerning Covetousness in Your own self
- How much do you value economic gain? How happy are you when you get money, especially a lot of extra money? How much energy and effort and desire is directed towards that? How happy and joyous are you when spiritual things happen such as seeing somebody saved, being a part of their getting saved, participating in God’s work, etc?
- How to you divide your income, time, energy, resources between the material of this world and the spiritual of eternity? It is a sin to not support yourself, but having said that, how easily are you content with little, and how joyous and pressing are you towards the spiritual things of God?
- Do you see your relationship with everybody else as trying to be a blessing and spiritual edification to them, or do you see them as existing basically to be a blessing to you?
- How often do your mind, thoughts, and words drift towards the eternal when you interact with other people, and how forced does it seem when you make that happen? Is it normal and nature and easy to speak to people of your Savior and salvation that he has provided for the world?
- Do you rob God of his due tithe? How easy is your heart moved to give above your tithes towards the things of God?
- Where is your trust for your financial needs, in God, or in your power to obtain and retain wealth? Do you give thanks to God for everything attributing His giving as why and how you got what you got?
- Does money, wealth, possessions make you feel good especially when you are depressed? Is your first recourse in stress and problems to go to God? Or do you drown your problems and sorrows in buying sprees, and pleasure, and entertainment?
Summary> This post, Minister’s Riches Rejection, describes what is a healthy mindset for a minister as far as riches and covetousness.