Lead But Not with Greed
You may have heard the story of a man who died and was known to be very greedy. At his funeral as the pastor sought to say good things about the man, the best friend of the widow was seated at her side close to the casket. She leaned over and asked the grieving widow, “Did your husband have any last requests?” The widow quickly responded by saying that he did have one and that she had honored his last request. Curious, the friend asked what it was. The widow said that he told her that he wanted to take all of his wealth with him. The friend said, “Surely you didn’t honor this request.” The widow said, “Indeed I did. I wrote him a check and put it in his casket. If he can cash it, he can spend it.”
The reality is that many people, even Christians, live life as if they can take their material possessions with them. The Bible clearly indicates that we brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing with us when we leave it. For those who act like they can take it with them, they need to see a generosity lifestyle model. Where else better than from those they respect and trust should they learn these lessons?
The generous lifestyle in a church congregation is first and foremost modeled in both word and deed by the pastor, staff and other leadership of the church. The church leadership approaches giving from the standpoint of “let us give together to what God is doing” and not just encouraging church members to give without any apparent buy-in by those in visible roles of leadership.
Some of our human behavior patterns are by instinct. However, most are learned behaviors and practices. It has been said that discipleship can be defined as “transference of life.” Those who have titled roles and perceived positions of leadership in the local church are charged with modeling for those who follow what the generosity lifestyle looks like. How can we as leaders realistically think that the members of our church will do something that they do not see their leaders already doing? There is no place in the church for leaders to say, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” It doesn’t hold water when we as parents use it on our children, and even so, it does not work as we set the standard for our members to follow.
Let us be found faithful in teaching those who watch us, through our actions and our words, that the work of the Lord deserves the best that we as Christ followers have to offer. They are observing. May they be able to quickly characterize us as leaders who know how to be generous in giving, in whom greed holds no place.
- What is the single most motivating factor that drives you to generous living?
- How does giving contribute to the quality of your life?
- What are you modeling through your giving?
Gary L. Crowell, CPA, CCA, ACC
Chief Financial Officer
Tarrant Baptist Association
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