Motives in Ministry

The methods used in ministry should be considered as essential and ethical as the goals being attained. The way you do things in your ministry to achieve your goal must be guided by what the word of God teaches. The word of God is meant to be applicable to people’s real life situations. It discerns motives in the hearts of men at all times and has the ability to change lives.

There is something called the “Judas Syndrome” which affects ministries today. The Judas Syndrome is a pattern of doing things which is influenced by a way of thinking. In general terms, a syndrome is a pattern of action or behavior that occurs under certain circumstances. Since the environment exposes people in ministry to strenuous circumstances that they grapple with, their response causes them to try to survive. Developed and developing nations present difficulties or competitive circumstances that affect how church leadership functions in ministry. This is the reason why the Judas Iscariot’s pattern of doing things provides us a warning because his way of looking at things tends to produce that pattern of actions and behaviors that originates from wrong motives. His way of looking at things can produce words that sound good, but the motives of the heart very questionable. This can be deceptive like the way it was with Isaac when he said that the voice was that of Jacobs, but the hands were those of Esau. The Bible in Genesis 27: 22 says, “And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau”.

In John 12: 3-5 the Bible says, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” Judas did things for personal gain just like it may be happening in ministry today. Those who are genuinely doing the work of God in these circumstances can sometimes be suspected of peddling the word of God for personal gain. However, the sign that shows that someone is peddling the word of God for personal gain is revealed by a lack of genuine care for the people he leads. If he shows signs of cares it is usually not congruent to his actions and it is normally short lived.

In this Scripture when Judas said that the perfume could have been sold and the poor helped, it sounded genuine, but the Bible makes a statement that exposes the motive. John 12: 6 clearly states, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Now, can a disciple be a thief? Yes, especially if he does not have the fear of God in his heart. This is the reason why church leaders have to watch out for wrong motives. Pay attention to the fact that leading a church would not have to be a way of having access to the money bag like Judas had access to it. If one goes into ministry just to have access to the money bag then such a one should stop because the motive is definitely wrong. Ministry is a calling and not a career.

In 1Timothy 6:5-7 the Bible talks about men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth who suppose that gain is godliness. We are told, “…from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 

Jesus warns us not to gain the whole world, but then lose our own souls.