Coveting no Man’s Silver is a study on how ministers are not to be overly eager to take from their flocks.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Acts 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
The point here is a balance. While a minister is supposed to live from his ministerial work, i.e. the church or laypeople are giving him money sufficiently that the minister can live a comfortable life from that, ministers are specifically not to covet what their members have in a material sense.
There are some salient points in this we need to consider.
Ministers are to work hard
I must put forth that they work of a pastor is extremely difficult and stressful. Nobody should gloss over that. It is very difficult to keep a good Christian testimony which is a minimum to be in the ministry. Moreover, the ministry “has no hours”, so some sick person, somebody having a life crisis needing counseling, or somebody’s death can happen in “off hours”. Ministers have to handle this without fanfare. They cannot retire into a cave after 5PM every weekday. In fact, ministers do most of their “work” on Saturday and Sunday, so they work every day of the week.
Paul put forth that as a minister he worked heartily. That is the norm we see.
Let me also put forth that we have to heap onto all the work that the minister does, the work of evangelism. Many pastors are not a good example of evangelist.
2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
So Pastors are supposed to be evangelists at the same time as they are pastors. I have seen many pastors that do not go out door to door witnessing nor passing out tracts. That is a shame. It is not what they are supposed to be. The church growth suffers from this, and in the end analysis, the Pastor expects the existing members to “pick up the slack” in the offerings because nobody is really doing evangelistic work. This is laziness on the pastor’s part, and it is a shame. Those pastors should do with less income if they are not actively inviting more people to church or evangelizing.
True Pastors are not to Rave the Flock
“Raving the Flock” means to spoil them by taking what is good and theirs. There is a limit on what a pastor should receive from his church. Unfortunately, the bigger the church, the higher the salary is the common thinking, and this is hard to support biblically. At some point, things begin to appear like he is coveting the members silver and gold. He wants to live the same lifestyle as the richest in his congregation.
It is wrong to starve the pastor. But at the same time, every pastor’s salary should be compared with the both the richest and the poorest in his congregation. He should find a medium that is not embarrassing to the poorest members, yet meets his needs. What is definitely WRONG is just that the pastor is getting rich off of what he is doing.
Getting a Perspective
We all have to stand before the judgment seat of God. No pastor will be condemned by God for not having squeezed more money from his church people. I don’t see that as happening. But some pastors may be rebuked for not personally sacrificing in order to help the finances of their church. If the members are rebuked for not sacrificing enough, they will be rebuked but were they taught biblical principles of giving from their pastor?
Why I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.
Why did Paul add apparel to the list? Silver and gold are the means of money. Why apparel? It would seem that the idea here is not coveting your members’ lifestyle. Some people live a very good lifestyle, new cars always, rich vacations, expensive clothes and luxurious houses. Things things we are to reject for ourselves, no matter if it is impossible to get them or people donate them to us (or the means to purchase them) we should shy away from these things.
More Posts on Covetousness
- The difference between Abuse and Mistakes
- Pastoral Covetousness NT
- Ministerial Requirement Not Covetous
- FP: Catching the False Prophet with his hand in the Cookie Jar
- Discerning between a False and True Christianity
- Covetousness is Idolatry
- Covetousness doesn’t mix with God’s Work
- Catholic Fleecing the Lambs
- Biblical Overview of Covetousness
The Heavenly Viewpoint
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Chapter 11 of Hebrews presents us with the heroes of the Christian faith. Their actions are basically practical examples of “faith”. That is the theme of this chapter. You must focus on faith when studying this chapter.
So Moises was defined, or his faith was seen specifically by what he could of had and rejected as far as material wealth. That is an important point in talking about men, money and the ministry.
Pastors have to convince their people that there is a celestial, and it is more real that what we currently experience. It is worth more than even losing all material wealth, or even dying for. So how is this deep, deep conviction conveyed to our people? It is only by personal example first. So many good preachers are excellent in the pulpit and horrible in their personal finances because they live and breathe making a buck. This is sad to see in what could be a good man of God except for his personal example.
God wants to teach us that the earthly is temporal, and we will not live forever, and when we die, just ask we came into this world with nothing, we will leave in the like manner. Therefore our viewpoint should be on the eternal. That is not money, that is not riches, that is not luxury. That is spiritual.
If all of God’s children should focus on the eternal, then definitely those who preach should do the same and live their lives in example of that principle.
More articles of Interest
The Minister’s Just Salary
A Minister’s Healthy Mindset
Worldliness is our Enemy
Elements of “Free from Covetousness”
Ministers: Rejecting Riches
Coveting no Man’s Silver