Read 1 Thessalonians 2
Focus on verse 9
I heard it said that people get funny about money, and in my experience this has often been true. Jesus warned His followers that it would be impossible to serve both God and money, and Paul writing to young Timothy warns that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”. Every day in court rooms around the nation people sue each other for money. In many cases it is former husbands and wives fighting over who gets what as they dissolve the marriage. In other cases it is family members fighting over who gets the inheritance. The love of money seems to have the power to deceive us into throwing even those closest to us under the proverbial bus to gain a few dollars more.
In the church one might expect it to be different, but the church is made up of people – people that have the same weaknesses and temptations that anyone else deals with. So if anything we ought to be even more careful with the way we handle money in the church. In today’s reading Paul reminds the church that he has always been careful to work hard to earn his own money so that the church does not have to spend any of the money donated by believers to look after his needs.
For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.(v. 9)
Paul was careful to avoid even the appearance of seeking financial gain, because he knew that people get funny about money. Not all churches fight over money, but in my experience, I have noticed that this is much more likely to happen to a church when money starts to come in short supply. This is when people begin to point fingers and invent theories about why there is not enough money to pay the bills, which does little to solve the problem, and much to make it worse.The best solution is to emulate Paul’s example: “work hard, spend less, and pray often”. This not only often minimizes the problem, it frees up resources to address what’s most important.