Some years ago I was admonished by one of the wealthiest men in my city, a retired CEO of a huge multi-national company, with the following words, “It is the responsibility of guys like you to tell guys like me what God expects of us, lest we not be ready to stand before Him one day.” It seemed, he elaborated, that too many preachers patronized “guys like him,” fearful of offending and hopeful of gaining something—and in the process ultimately sealing the eternal doom of “guys like him.” Sobering words to a patronizing preacher like me (at the time).
Emboldened by that old admonition, I’d like to address the subject of stewardship in the next few issues of HeavenWord. This month I want to focus specifically on the questionable example of stewardship being set by some spiritual leaders—because the church follows its leaders. There isn’t any doubt in my mind that Jesus would address this issue if He were personally preaching on the planet today, because when He was preaching on the planet, He quite often made sobering statements about stewardship, and He also exposed the money-loving spiritual leaders of His day (see Matt. 23:14; Luke 16:13-15). Imitating Christ, Paul also lamented that many in his day were “peddling the word of God” (2 Cor. 2:17). He required that spiritual leaders be “free from the love of money” (1 Tim. 3:3). Peter, too, warned against false teachers who, motivated by greed, would exploit believers with false words (see 2 Pet. 2:1-3).