Is money really the root of all evil?

I have been looking at various Scripture texts that often get used out of context or misquoted.  If you have missed the last two, you can find them in The Sunday Series section.  This week’s is a bit simpler than last week’s post.  By the way, if you have any suggestions, please leave me those in the comment box below.

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Is money evil?

You have likely heard it said that money is the root of all evil.  However, that is not exactly what the Scriptures teach.

” For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Do you see how subtly that has been misquoted and used?  In light of the current economic problems many face, there is no wonder people are blaming money.  But, money is not an animate object.  Money, in itself, does not possess any power.  Money is not evil. In fact, if you look even further into this text you get even more clues on this.

” 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

The desire to get rich does not come from money, it comes from the sinfulness of the human heart.  People want to be powerful and in charge. We could go back to the story of Adam and Eve and see this at work, even before there was money.  The human heart wants to be God and will often go to great lengths to obtain it.  In our day and age money speaks.  Money says, “I am powerful and important.”  It is no wonder people often put their hope in it, thinking it will satisfy.   As that text says, people put themselves through grief when money becomes their only goal in life.  Excessive debt and theft are just two of the many ways money is abused.  Money feeds an appetite for stuff that can never be fulfilled, but yet it is an appetite that gets louder the longer you starve it.  In that way, money can become something that is loved, even if only at a strangely superficial level.  That’s the problem.

But, even saying that, we still cannot blame money as the source of all evil.  All kinds of evil, yes, but not all evil.  When money takes the place of prominence in life, other people suffer.  This is where there is often tension in marriages or in business relationships.   Money should not take the place of people.  These issues with money don’t surprise us, but there is a solution when you look at the context of the verse.

“But, you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11

The answer to this issue is not just to stop feeding the need for money.  Instead, the answer is to feed that desire with something else; righteousness.The human heart craves something and if you fill it with righteousness, it will finally be full and satisfied. (A topic for an upcoming post is about the benefits of righteousness)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

People have a sin problem; a problem that will inherently take other things and place them on the throne that belongs to God.  So, money is not the root of all evil, evil is the root of all evil.  We do well to remember that as we go about our lives. This is why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross.  He came to set us free from sin that tied us up and made us a slave to it.  We no longer have to be chained up to sin because as a follower of Jesus Christ, we belong to Him.

What are you chasing?  What place does God play in your daily life?  Is it the place that is rightfully His, or is it just a fragment of it? It is time to pursue what really matters and let money be the resource it is.  It will never replace God and will never replace people.

— For other reading on this, you can check out a post from last week “Gaining Wealth Without Money”  And, as always, I would love to hear from you.

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5 comments

  1. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

    Amen – talked about thirst for God in SS today. Not the I need a drink type of thirst, but the desperately seeking in order to avoid death type of thirst. Developing a thirst for Him makes a lot of things in life easier (avoiding the evil desires). The question here would be: What do you thirst for? Hmmm, I feel another lesson coming on. Keep ’em coming 🙂

  2. My husband really struggled with this when we first started dating as my family had money and his did not. As time went on, he realized that there was nothing wrong with my family enjoying what they earned and that they were very generous to many, many people. The money was a means to help others out. Unfortunately, greed and selfishness were rampant in his own family and after a while, neither of us could stand it. We were careful to explain to our daughter why that was not acceptable behavior. Now as an adult, she continues the generosity that we raised her with.

    1. That’s a great example. Money is not the problem, people are the problem. Money can be a real blessing when used correctly. Generosity is a worthy trait to foster in children.

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