Is having money a bad thing? Scripture warns repeatedly about the dangers of holding wealth too tightly and making it too important in our lives. Certainly, the one most quoted verse of the scriptures dealing with money is 1 Timothy 6:10 that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” (KJV) The entire verse says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (NLT) So what are we to make of that? Money is not inherently bad; love of money is. God wants you to find your wealth in Him.
Bottom Line: More money is not the answer to our deepest needs, Jesus is!
Something To Talk About:
This verse can seem self-explanatory. Money is evil. Yet we must remember that Paul did not write that money is the root of all evil, or even that the love of money is the root of all evil. This would imply, if taken to its logical conclusion, that greed is ultimately responsible for all evil done on the earth. Instead, we read that love of money is “a root of all kinds of evil.” In other words, people do all sorts of evil deeds because of a desire for money.
- Potential for evil: Contrary to what many believe, money is not the root of all evil. What the Bible actually says is, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Those two little words, “love of” make a huge difference to the total meaning to the Scripture! Loving money has to do with placing your trust in it. What you put your trust in is what you serve. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” (Matthew 6:24). While we need money we cannot serve it because having money can lead one to think they don’t need God. Money can seem to provide control and options and the more comfort we experience, the more potential for us to put money on a pedestal. We need to remember that without God we can do nothing, and we are nothing (John 15:5).
- The big theme is contentment: I don’t know many people who are not seeking contentment. I am not talking about the fabulously rich, incredibly good-looking, or wildly successful in my career contentment. I am talking about the kind of deep-down, soul-satisfying contentment that permeates your life when you are serving the living Savior. Contentment is often determined by who is running the control booth in your life. If money is in the center of your control booth then you are looking for true contentment in something that cannot provide it. For the Christian, personal contentment—being satisfied with what God has given us—is something we strive for. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. “For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5). The love of money and material possessions surfaces in many ways. Some of us may never acquire wealth. But others do acquire wealth and it can very exciting watching your portfolio grow. It can be very rewarding to dip your toe into the waters of seeking more and more money. Although many Scriptures teach about the dangers of material riches, God’s Word does not teach that poverty is God’s alternative. God wants us to understand that money is a tool to use in accomplishing His plan through us. If we are to find true contentment we must find it in a loving Savior who died for you and me.
- The most wealthy are not those who have the most, but those who need the least: It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that “Money often costs too much.” Who doesn’t want to be rich? That is because the prevailing view is that wealth is good, that it should be pursued, that material possessions and riches enhance our enjoyment in life, and that wealth provides opportunity to find greater fulfillment in life. Reading the Bible will help you realize that the pursuit of riches is based on a faulty premise. It is based on the incorrect rationale that the presence of money is always good—that it always brings benefit into our lives. This is not always the case. Once our basic needs have been met, money contributes very little to our overall happiness and well-being. The Bible tells us there are better things to be than rich. And we’d live more fulfilled lives if we began chasing after them with as much intensity as we seek riches. If we’re looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly in Matthew 5: 1-10: “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” It doesn’t say anything about bless those who are well off, or bless those with high-paying jobs or bless those who have a nice house on the Florida Gulf Coast and a boat and drive a Mercedes. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, but God views riches in a different light.
- What are some life experiences that have influenced your relationship to money? Is it wrong to work hard to try to get ahead financially?
- Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Which part is most convicting to you personally? Share why it sticks out to you.
- How do you define contentment? In your own experiences, what have you discovered to be the key to contentment?
- Why are we not content with just the basic necessities? How does our culture fuel discontentment?
- When we struggle to be content, what are we saying about our view of God and our relationship with Him?
- What can you do differently with your money to make even more of a difference?
Take One Thing Home with You:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:6-10, ESV)
Jesus taught, as recorded in Matthew 19:24, “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” This is not because God hates rich people. Instead, He is referring to how many wealthy people live as though they do not need God and how they cling so tightly to their wealth that it consumes them.
Jesus lived a meager, lowly life when He could have said one word and had riches untold. He had His eye on the prize. He knew what awaited Him and, in comparison to that, earthly treasures had no sparkle or gleam for Him. That is how we are called to live.
Physical possessions cannot bring true, lasting joy—they are insignificant in comparison to the treasures of spiritual blessings God offers to those who love Him. Therefore, Christians should rightly use the money God gives us, but not love it, since it is only temporary. Consider the following words of Jesus:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:19–21)