Chaplain Bob Bundick once said pastors need to be aware of SAM (Sex, Alcohol and Money). Living in Colorado I would also add Marijuana, so SAMM. Recently I was preaching through Genesis and we looked at Genesis 4:7 (ESV) “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Other translations say you must master it.
How can we master our sin of SAMM?
The temptation of sex and pornography is one that is prevalent in our culture. Recent reporting shows that the first exposure to pornography is at the age of 11. If we admit that we have all viewed, wrestled with, abused, or been addicted to pornography then we need to address how we master that sin. As pastors how can we master our sin of pornography?
Alcohol is another danger for pastors. The desire to escape the pain of criticism, the desire to be social, the desire to live 1 Timothy 5:23 and have a little wine for the stomach. Whatever our issue is with alcohol how can we master the sin of alcohol abuse?
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says this: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Money will always be an issue for pastors. Many of us are overworked and underpaid. Maybe we are being tempted to find the next bigger better church for a better lifestyle. Maybe we have a desire to write another book to help with the finances or take on another job. How can we master our sin of money?
In Colorado we are all aware that we can use recreational or medical marijuana. We can rationalize the pain benefits and the choice of something natural over a pharmaceutical drug like Vicodin or Percocet. Or we can rationalize the legality versus the moral issue of marijuana usage. The question is how can we master the sin or usage or overuse of recreational or medical marijuana?
The only way we can master SAMM is to add Jesus. If we are struggling with pornography then we must add Jesus. If Jesus was in the room, would you still be using pornography? If we are struggling with alcohol would Jesus be right there with you secretly drinking? We already know that Jesus said we cannot serve two masters, so we know we need Jesus when it comes to our finances. Finally, would Jesus be smoking a bowl or a joint with you? Would you be willing to pass a joint to the Risen Lord? We must add Jesus. The only thing that I know of that will help us master our sin is Jesus. Turn your SAMM over to Jesus. Let Him help you master it. You are not alone all of us wrestle with mastering SAMM.
Mike Walter, MDiv., is the pastor at Hillside Baptist Church in Greeley, Colorado. Since 2007, Mike has been helping to revitalize churches in the rural plains of Eastern Colorado to the heart of the Colorado Mountains in Winter Park. Landing in Greeley in 2014, Mike has been leading his church in revitalization through the sharing of the love of Jesus Christ.