Money is the root of all evil?
Money is the root of all evil – that’s what the Bible says, right? Chances are you’ve come across this phrase in one place or another in your life, but you won’t find it in the Bible! What the Bible actually says is:
“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
See the difference? Money itself is not evil, but loving money leads to evil.
Unfortunately, Christian culture has often confused money itself with the sin of loving money. We know that Jesus had followers who were wealthy, such as Joseph of Arimithea, but as far as we know, Jesus never condemned them for their wealth. His criticism was reserved for those like the Pharisees, who are described as “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14).
Why shouldn’t we love money?
Money can be an idol.
“No servant can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money.” – Luke 16:13
If we prioritize having money over serving God, we will make our decisions based on financial gain rather than obedience to Him. This might lead to violating a general moral principle, such as the case of someone who gains wealth by deceiving or harming others. But it also might distract you from a specific plan God has for your life!
Money also becomes an idol when we trust in our bank account more than we trust in God. When life is difficult, where do you turn? Do you expect your money to solve your problems or God?
When you don’t trust someone, your heart isn’t fully open to a relationship with them. The same is true with God.
Financial wealth is deceptive.
“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9
“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, heard the word; but the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” – Mark 4:19
Our culture believes money will solve all problems and make us happy. It’s true that money does solve some problems, and a certain amount is necessary for general well-being. We need a place to live, food, clothes, and so on.
But the Bible says pursuing excessive money leads to disappointment. No amount of money will ever be enough to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts. Money may help our lives function smoothly, but it doesn’t satisfy the deepest desires of the human heart.
Jesus says we are like plants choked by thorns when we pursue wealth expecting it to make us happy. We can only flourish and find real joy when we look to God alone as our provider!
It can make us greedy.
“Whoever loves money never has money enough” – Ecclesiastes 5:10
The problem with greed is that it’s never satisfied, no matter how much you have. When you love money, you’ll never be content with your salary. You’ll always need the next new house, car, gadget – which means more money, and more, and more. And that’s a miserable way to live!
So how should we treat money then?
Money is a part of our daily lives; we can’t avoid it, nor should we try to! Again, money itself is not evil. It only becomes something ugly when we desire it more than God.
Here’s what the Bible says about using money in our daily lives:
Work hard to provide for yourself and others.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” – Ephesians 4:28
The Bible encourages diligence and hard work – and hard work that leads to profit! It’s not wrong to earn money and use it to live. We should provide for ourselves, our families, and those in need around us to the best of our ability. And as long as we are able to work, we shouldn’t be lazy and rely on someone else to take care of us.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Ultimately, God is our provider. There may be seasons when we have an abundance of money and seasons when we have a lack. God is with us through it all, and He knows what we need.
God works to provide not just for our physical needs but also for our spiritual needs. He wants to teach us new things and help us grow!
Contentment is an act of trust. It says: “God, I choose to trust you and give thanks no matter what my circumstances are. You know exactly what I need!”
Give your money away.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
“Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
The Bible says that we should be generous with our money, giving freely as opportunities arise. For some, this might look like a traditional tithe of 10% of all income. For others, it might be more spontaneous!
Giving is about helping those in need, but it’s also about the attitude of our hearts. It helps us let go of attachment to money (love of money) and instead trust God. When we give, we become generous, open-hearted, and joyful. When we hold onto things for ourselves, we become selfish, closed-off, and unhappy.
“Sowing” or giving generously allows us to have an undivided love for God that isn’t diminished by a competing love of money.
A lot of people think the Bible is out to prevent us from having any fun. When it comes to money, it can seem like our lives would be so much better if we could just make a million dollars! Our culture certainly tells us that.
The Bible warns, however, that loving money doesn’t actually lead to happiness. Instead, it offers us a different path to life in the fullest – a path on which we serve God instead of money.
What might happen if you actually believed and practiced what the Bible says about money? How might your life become more free, exciting, and fulfilled?