“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 6:10)
“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5)
We can’t live without food or clothing, and we can’t live without money in 2018. Studying biblical teaching about stewardship while examining our attitudes and desires is a necessary thing if we want to be wise and sensible Christians. For many believers, this is just too much work or too distasteful. Others misinterpret these and other Bible verses to read, “money is the root of all kinds of evils,” or “Keep your life free from money.” So we start with the truth that Jesus never taught that it is a sin to be wealthy or that money is evil in itself. There are many things in this life that are “neutral” and given to us by God for our well-being as long as we live here: food, clothing, money, internet and cellular technology, motor vehicles, sun, rain, wind, etc. Since God is the first cause of all events and natural causes, we can say that he has given mankind the skills to build some of these and ordained that they should be used. The internet can be used for good or evil, as can fire, airplanes, money, television and so on.
We are the ones who choose whether to use God-given material things and talents for the good of others or our own good. Trying to not use them at all, such as taking a vow of poverty or regarding food as the enemy responsible only for weight gain will not solve the problem of misuse. God gives some of us great wealth and others the bare minimum. Some of us will be able to earn a significant sum of money in this life and others will work to barely make ends meet, with little, if any, for retirement. Money can be used for many useful purposes: helping others in their time of need, providing for our families so that they can benefit from food, clothing, and education, giving to missionaries who carry the gospel to those who are walking in darkness, following God’s call to short-term missions ourselves or community service in our retirement, giving to our churches, supporting para-Church organizations, and for many other godly benefits. But all Christians are called to keep free from the love of money regardless of our particular circumstances. The love of money leads to sins too numerous to mention, but a few are covetousness, selfishness, unbridled ungodly ambition, stealing, over-spending, and especially idolatry. Judas professed to love the Lord but loved money more. He was installed as the keeper of the money-box, complained when Jesus was anointed with expensive perfume (using the poor as an excuse), and finally betrayed the Lord for payment. Let’s take a lesson from Judas about the futility of putting one’s hope in wealth as a satisfying endeavor or easy to escape from once the pattern is set into motion. “When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’…And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:2-5)
What do your patterns of spending and saving reveal about your relationship with money? What subtle indications do you see that you like money a little too much, which could lead to loving it?