I say this has been life changing but the truth is it has NOT been life changing for me, it’s opened my eyes to how much my life has changed. The Spirit is revealing some new things to me, showing me how far off I was for so many years and in that I see the GREATEST LOVE in the world, the LOVE that the Father has for me and for the world is beyond amazing!! I can also see the opportunities missed in my life and ministry. Being a pastor is not about ME at any level, it’s ALL ABOUT HIM and how he uses me to touch people, show them the LOVE OF THE FATHER, show them the compassion, touch, healing, holiness of who God is. It’s not easy looking at my life and the mistakes I’ve made but it sure is comforting to know He still loves me and has not given up on me!!
11. Must not love money – This is the one that I’ve dreaded coming to but here is is…. probably one of the biggest struggles in my life, even to this day. My entire life has been ruled by this one thing.. MONEY! There have been seasons in my life that it’s been good and under control, that I’ve honored God, my wife in our money but even with that said they have been short seasons.
As a pastor I have failed horribly in this area. I could not control it in my personal life there was NO way to control it in ministry life, running the church, helping others with financial issues in life, teaching and preaching on tithing and the list goes on and on. I failed. It’s so much more than “managing money” when it comes to ministry. It’s a spiritual principle that goes deep and is one of the MAJOR principles in our Christian walk.
The Bible the says “the LOVE OF MONEY is the ……” Also speaks of God owning everything in this world, God gives and takes away, it is a trust issue. The bottom line I did not trust God when it came to my finances. Why? Because I’m selfish, I covet, I want, I desire, I must have things that I want. And for the most part in my life I would find a way to get what I wanted even if it cost me in deep ways. In relationships, in integrity, my job, my family etc…..
A Pastor/Elder must be about to lead in this, have a testimony in this, trust God and have total integrity in this. Be able to run the financial affairs of his home, his family and the ministry. If he can’t manage his own finances how in the world can he manage ministries that sometimes take in millions of dollars. If you can’t be trusted with the small how can you ever be trusted with the larger? There is also the matter of people give their hard earned money to support a church/ministry, they trust that the church will be a good steward with what they give! I was horrible!!!
This is an area of my life I struggle with to this day, BUT….I go to Him every morning with it, when something arises in me that I want or feel I need to have I take it to him and lay it down. It’s far more important to me to have a trusting and open relationship with Jesus and my wife than to find ways to get what I want. I could make you a list of things I would like to have………but that list now sits at the foot of the cross and I do not plan on picking it back up.
So, how is one tested in this. If the credential board would have asked my wife point blank how I handle our personal finances 15 or 20 years ago, the light would have come on. If they ran a credit check, or looked at my bank account records. Am I saying they should? I really don’t know, are there more men and woman out there like me in ministry today? YES YES YES I’ve seen it over and over again, men and woman falling out of ministry because of money issues etc…. and EVERY TIME the family or wife would admit they hid it.
In the corporate world most companies run your credit before they hire you….why? It shows your character when it comes to how you manage your life. In ministry I’ve always preached, read, heard that our money is always the hardest and the last area of our lives we hand over to God completely.
With all this said, I do believe that there are FAR MORE good and honest men and women in ministry than ones that have flaws they hide. IF someone has nothing to hide they will take NO offense when they are checked out, question or asked to provide things that prove who they are on the inside.
I have come a long way over the last year and I’m VERY Thankful………still growing and changing…….I will until the day I die.
Enough– not liking this one too much… makes me sick to think of how I was in this area f my life.