One of the qualifications for an overseer/elder/pastor (all the same office in the Bible) is that he be “free from the love of money” (1 Tim. 3:3). Now suppose that you are on an elder board and seeking to know whether a new candidate for the office is in fact free from the love of money, how can you figure it out? Here are five useful diagnostic questions.
The most natural way to answer the question of whether an overseer or candidate for overseer is free from the love of money is to turn one page to the right in your Bible and observe what the Apostle Paul writes about a Christian’s relationship to money in 1 Timothy 6, including the all-too-common problem of money-loving. From that chapter, we can derive the following questions to use when we are trying to ascertain whether an overseer is or is not free from the love of money. Here are five useful questions:
1. Is contentment evident in his life? 1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
2. Does he aspire to be rich? 1 Timothy 6:9-10 says, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
3. Does he evidence conceit? 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited …”
4. When in a difficult situation, does he seem to fix his hope on God or on his wealth to resolve his problem? 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to … fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
5. Is there evidence of generosity? 1 Timothy 6:18-19 says, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.”
These five diagnostic questions will help you ascertain whether an overseer or candidate for overseer is or is not free from the love of money.