Money, motive and material gain

(Genesis 14: 21-24)

In an earlier article, I spoke about core values, principles within and the importance of self-regulation in the life of a leader. This point arises in the passage that forms the basis of this article. It seems to be so simple on the face of it; but it’s one that is often missed. Yet it is absolutely fundamental. If not properly dealt with, it is a cancer that has resulted in the loss of reputation and downfall of leaders and the organisations they lead; both secular and spiritual.


The incident that illustrates this vital principle and learning point took place at the back end of Abraham’s rescue of his nephew, Lot. Having concluded the mission, Abraham and his fighting men had acquired a great deal of possessions from the hands of the enemies they had defeated.

On his return, the king of Sodom said to Abraham, ‘Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself’. The king’s proposal revealed his value set. He prized fighting men above goods. Abraham could keep all the goods. This was an incredible offer, on the face of it, and one not to be missed. In today’s world and indeed in certain segments of the Christian Church, many would interpret the offer as an unequivocal sign of the favour of God on them. God, the rewarder was about to bless them stupendously.

Abraham’s response is very telling. He said, ‘I have raised my hand to the LORD God most high, the creator of heaven and earth, I have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even the thong of a sandal so that you can never say you have made Abraham rich. I will accept only what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me’. 

What we see here is a man who had been made a fantastic offer. However, the principles within him kicked in.

He was not motivated by money or driven by the desire to gain worldly possessions. He said, ‘No thanks’ to the king.

Abraham knew where his source lay. His source was God alone. This is a critical point for every leader – recognise that your source is in God and not in man.

So many nations are riddled with and crippled by corruption, inflicted on them by the elite, the ruling class, and their political leaders, who have absolutely emptied the coffers of the nation for personal gain.

Public wealth has been transferred into private pockets. For those corrupt leaders and every leader, Abraham sets a very clear example. Refuse to be bought or bribed, driven by the quest for material gain. Refuse to be compromised.

Abraham’s response to the king can be summarised as follows: ‘Your offer will not make me rich. God is my source and I want the glory to be given to Him’.


Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2017©
PS: If you have been inspired, provoked or learned something from this article, why not do any or all of the following: (i) leave some feedback or a comment, either positive or developmental; (ii) recommend it to a friend; (iii) share it with a friend. This will encourage and help me to serve you better, so together we can make a difference in our world.

About the Author:
Emmanuel Mbakwe is a Pastor, an apostolic leader, business advisor, leadership coach, mentor, and published author. He is the immediate past General Overseer of the Apostolic Church UK. His vision and heart’s desire is to help people realise their God-given potential and fulfil the purpose of God for the life.

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