SOME PREACHERS QUIT BECAUSE THEY WANT MORE MONEY.
This is different from the previous point. It's not that they truly need more money, but they want more. It is significant that Paul said to the young preacher Timothy:
"Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Tim. 6:6-10).
Preachers, just like others, may want more than they need. We need to learn to be content with the necessities of life. Contentment is learned (or more specifically--chosen). Paul declared in Philippians 4:11 - "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." I have known a few worldly, materialistic preachers, but most that I know are hard working and want enough support to take care of their families.
Irreparable harm can be done in a community when either the preacher is not paid a fair wage or he fails to manage his money wisely. Preachers have left communities, owing business establishments and individuals, and have felt no compunction to pay their just debts. Preachers, as well as all Christians, should not spend what they do not have. Sometimes churches are to some degree accountable for the preacher's indebtedness. Before I came to Indianapolis, I was asked by a church concerning their hiring a certain preaching brother. I told them it would be unwise to hire him. He would preach the truth, but he could not manage his money; and evidently, neither could his wife manage money. The church must have really been hard up to find a preacher; so, in spite of my warnings, they hired him anyway. Sure enough, after a year or two he was drowning in debt. He was asked to leave, but untold damage to the cause of Christ had been done in that community. As brother Ira Y. Rice, Jr. was known to say, "You just can't warn some brethren."
SOME PREACHERS QUIT BECAUSE THEY STOP STUDYING.
Preaching requires studying. Paul told Timothy:
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (I Tim. 4:13-16).
Later, to the same young preacher, Paul wrote - "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). It is interesting to consider that even though Timothy had a miraculous gift given to him by the apostle Paul, it was necessary that the young preacher study. The preacher must constantly be filling the barrel, so to speak. If he quits studying the Bible, the barrel will run dry; and the content of his preaching will deteriorate. Show me a preacher who studies regularly, and I will show you one who will never run out of material to preach. Preachers who quit studying need to quit preaching. One cannot preach what he does not know; he cannot know what he does not study; he cannot study if he will not devote the time to such.
There are wonderful tools available for the preacher today. At his fingertips are some great reference works. It is simply a matter of using them. Computers have made studying much easier with Bible software, maps, tools, websites, etc.
Preachers, don't let covetousness destroy your ministry, and don't become lazy in your studies. Although some preachers quit because of these two reasons, such is unnecessary and avoidable. We will continue this series in our next lesson.