[management by God] the root of all evil

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

November 22, 2010

Imagine this… You just got dropped off in the middle of a city just like the castaways on Survivor. You have nothing, don’t know anybody, and are left to fend for yourself. What’s the first thing that you think of that you need in order to do anything?

Food? Maybe, depending on when your last meal was.

Shelter? Possibly, depending on what the weather is like, and time of day that it is.

I would argue that one of the first things most people would start thinking about is money. You would need money to eat, and to get shelter, right? So the most essential need that you may find yourself looking for is money.

Let’s face it, we live in a world where money drives everything, and I would agree that it is quite essential to survival these days.

As we discuss the tenth qualification for the executive-leader, we finally come to one of the most discussed topics in the entire New Testament. Paul tells Timothy that these leaders should not be “lover(s) of money.” But this requirement opens up so many doors and points of contention, how could this be an actual requirement for leadership? Besides, if you’re a good leader, then you’ll probably be making lots of money anyway, right?

So what gives?

The Bible is very clear in it’s position on money. It agrees that it’s necessary, and can often be used for very noble causes, it still stresses it’s standpoint that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). What we’re talking about here is greed.

When you start putting your desire for money before God and people, then it becomes an idol that we worship. When the desire for money consumes every thought to the point that your relationships start to suffer, it’s easy to see how the statement can be made that the “love of money” is the root of all evil.

The focus on the material possession will tear away at relationships because the desire to get more of it comes regardless of the cost of other things. More marriages, business deals, and other relationships have been ripped apart due to an unhealthy, selfish perspective on money.

People should be what gets our focus, not money.

Leadership is accomplished through influence, and lasting influence is only accomplished through relationship. If greed causes you to put your desire for money over others, then your relationships will be shallow, and people will not follow you for long.

Leadership is about accomplishing a vision. It’s about going somewhere. And like it or not, it’s people that help you to get there more than anything else. So when it comes to being a good leader, you need people, which means you need to focus primarily on your relationships with them more than you focus on your desire for money.

The problem these days is that we use money as a measure of success.

If you’re good at what you do, then you usually get paid accordingly. And if you continue to be really good, then you get promotions in your job.

Businesses consider themselves successful based on how well they do financially, not on how well they deliver the service or product that they produce. This is an incorrect perspective.

Think about this… should a doctor be looked at as successful because of how much he charges his patients and the size of his retirement fund? Or should he be looked at as successful based on the number of lives that he saves? Most of us would say that one is a great doctor because he is good at saving lives, right? But what happens is that because he is good at saving lives, he is going to make more money than the average doctor. Then our focus moves to looking at the money to determine how successful he is, when really it’s just a side-effect of success, not the true measure.

Success should be determined by how well one uses the gifts (skills, talents, or abilities) that they have been given. The people that get this right are the ones that work in an area that they’re passionate about. Most teachers, for example, certainly are not in that business because of the money. We even talk about how underpaid they are (as if money were a measure of success). However, most teachers teach because of the difference that they can make in a child’s (or an adult’s) life. To them success is a changed and growing life.

There’s nothing wrong with money, but a good leader won’t let anything get in the way of measuring the things in their lives that add up to real success.

When Jesus was asked about which is the greatest commandment, He responded that we need to love God, and love each other. Both of these are relational commands. What He was saying there is that nothing is as important as your relationships.

Questions to consider:

  • Which ranks higher in importance in your life, money or people?
  • What do you need to do to put money in its proper place in your life?
  • How are you investing in relationships with the people around you?

See more from the management by God series!


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[management by God] the root of all evil

by Dan King time to read: 4 min