How many times have you seen it on a church sign, or tattooed on someone’s body? Perhaps you’ve heard a preacher or a Bible class teacher say the words. MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL! The first time I heard someone say that in church I thought, “If money is the root of all evil, then why do we take up a collection?” Of course, money is NOT the root of all evil. Money is just paper, or coin, or plastic. There is nothing inherently evil about money. The evil comes as a result of man’s relationship with money.
We all need money to survive. We all have houses, cars, clothing, and food. These things are not free. So we go to work to earn a living to pay for the things necessary for our survival. In one sense, we need money. But the need can easily turn to greed. We need a house to live, but do we need the biggest one on the block? We need a car to drive to work, but do we need one with all the bells and whistles? We need clothes, but do we need all the name brands. We need food, but do we need lobster and steak for every meal. We all need money to survive. The question becomes, “Do we need money to enjoy life?” That’s where a hardcore self-examination would do us all some good. What place does money occupy in your life? Do you need it? Of course. To some degree. But has the need turned to greed? To ask it another way, “Is money occupying a place in your life that should be filled by God?”
What Paul actually wrote to Timothy is this:
10 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 (1 Tim. 6:10).
Our money is neutral. It’s not the problem. Our attitude toward our money is the potential problem. Jesus had much to say about money and an unhealthy attachment to it. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables focus on how to handle money and possessions. One out of ten verses in the gospels (288 total) deal directly with the subject of money. In fact, the Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. Our Lord knew that money can be an easy god for people. It is often God’s primary competition. Money can easily become a substitute for God. The love of money is a root sin. It lies beneath the surface and nourishes a number of other sins. It is a root that bears a variety of fruit; namely greed. If you allow the love of money to take root, it will eventually take over your heart and, like a bad weed, it will choke out anything good that is growing there.
It was Paul who also wrote these words:
12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:12& 13).
Paul had learned the secret of being content. I’m glad to know that Paul had to learn contentment rather than being born with it. This tells me that he was not unlike me, in that he battled greed from time to time. According to Paul, the key is learning to being satisfied with what you have rather than being dissatisfied with what you lack. Unlike greed, contentment doesn’t come through addition. It comes more through subtraction. Contentment doesn’t come by adding to what you have. Contentment comes by subtracting from what you desire. Paul seems to have learned contentment through loss. There were times when he had plenty, but there were times when he was in need. In fact, he was writing these words from a cold, dark, damp prison cell. He was in need as he was writing, but he was also content. Why? How? Because Paul had learned to find security in Jesus. Paul found contentment in the Giver, not the gift. He could lose it all, but he still had enough.
How about you? Could you find contentment in the midst of nothing? Could you be satisfied with God if God was all you had?
Thank you for reading and God bless!