November 15, 2023
Serving leaders, like all leaders, deal with money every day. Decisions need to be made that involve money in both personal and leadership roles. Serving leaders shape their thinking and decision-making process about money by their desire to serve and bless others. In this series, we’ll examine three basic principles that guide serving leaders in the way they view money and make financial decisions. The first seems counterintuitive but is foundational—serving leaders surrender money! Serving leaders recognize that the money they control is not ultimately theirs, they act as stewards. Consider these verses:
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the LORD Almighty” (Haggai 2:8, NIV).
“Again, it [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them (Matthew 25:14).
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).
Serving leaders seek to live out the principles found in these and many similar scriptures by surrendering their money.
Serving leaders surrender money by acknowledging their stewardship.
Haggai boldly declared that God is the ultimate owner of all wealth. In the parable of the talents Jesus teaches that He entrusts resources to individuals to steward on His behalf. This view radically changes how serving leaders view money, it is not theirs, they are simply stewards.
Some leaders are obsessed with money—getting it, keeping it, and enjoying it. Their focus is inward, and they make their financial decisions based on how it will benefit themselves. But serving leaders surrender money, they acknowledge that they are in leadership to serve others and they have money to serve others. This applies to their personal finances as well as the money they oversee in their organization. As they surrender control as stewards, they experience the freedom of contentment.
Serving leaders surrender money by acknowledging their leadership.
Those who see their role as stewards find freedom but also a responsibility—to use the money entrusted to them well. Many leaders use their leadership to gain advantage for themselves, focused on what will benefit them personally. But serving leaders understand that as stewards, the money they manage has a higher purpose than profit or gain, it is to serve the organization and reflect God’s desires and vision. They are still called to lead and to use the money in a way that reflects the desires of the ultimate owner, and they serve their organizations by taking responsibility for properly managing the finances.
Serving leaders surrender money by acknowledging their temptation.
Jesus warns about the dangerous power money can exert in our lives. Money can literally become our god. Many leaders allow money to be the ultimate authority in their lives and do whatever it takes to get more and have more. But serving leaders acknowledge that a love of money can lead them away from serving the good of their families, communities, and organizations. They surrender money so they can lead with integrity, humility and stewardship for the good of those they serve.
For further reflection and discussion:
- How have I viewed money and financial resources, as an owner or a steward? What difference has it made in my leadership?
- As I lead and make financial decisions, do I demonstrate a selfish heart or a serving heart? What example can I give of a decision made in the last week that demonstrates this?
- In what ways does money tempt me to abandon serving? How do I, or how could I, guard my heart against this?
- Consider these additional verses related to finances and stewardship: Psalm 50:10, Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:42-48. What more do you learn about how you interact with money as a serving leader?
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll look at how serving leaders get money.