The Love of Money

By Irvin Himmel

It was the love of money that caused Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. Seeing that the Jewish leaders had blood in their eyes, Judas went to the chief priests and asked, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” The agreement was that he would be given thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16).

After Judas had served as guide to them that took Jesus (Acts 1:16), and following the realization that Jesus was condemned to die, the glitter of the money vanished. Knowing that-he had betrayed innocent blood. He returned the money to the chief priests and elders in the bitterness of remorse and regret. They were totally without sympathy. The wicked Judas, an apostate apostle, hanged himself (Matt. 27: 1-5).

It was the love of money that prompted Gehazi to run after Naaman with an evil scheme. After being healed of leprosy, Naaman wanted to give a present to the prophet Elisha. The prophet would accept nothing and urged Naaman to “Go in peace.” Gehazi was the servant of Elisha. Seeing an opportunity to get gain through deceit, Gehazi followed when Naaman started home. Naaman saw him running behind his chariot, so he stopped. Gehazi said the situation had suddenly changed just as Naaman was leaving his master’s house. Two young men of the sons of the prophets had come in from Mt. Ephraim. They needed a talent of silver and two changes of garments. Gehazi declared that Elisha had sent him to overtake Naaman and let him know that a present for these young men would be accepted. Excitedly, Naaman gave Gehazi

twice the amount of silver requested and the two changes of garments. Gehazi hid the silver and the garments.

Upon his return, Gehazi was questioned by his wise master about where he had been. Gehazi denied that he had gone anywhere. Elisha informed his lying servant that he was aware of his crooked scheme. This was no time to be taking money or other gifts from Naaman. “The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.” Gehazi went out from his master’s presence a leper (2 Kings 5:15-27).

It is the love of money that motivates some preachers to teach falsely. Paul remarked in writing to Titus, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1:10-11).

Some will teach most anything if the price is right. And the threat of being fired if he dares to speak on certain subjects has silenced the preacher who loved money more than truth.

It is the love of money that makes some people miss many of the services of the church. They take the job that offers the highest pay even if they know in advance that they will be required to work when they ought to be in the assemblies of the saints. In some cases people miss services by working on Sunday when it is not a necessity at all. They work as a matter of choice. They choose work over worship because they prefer financial gain over spiritual communion and praise.

Some day we are going to learn that we can be rich and increased with temporal goods, yet in God’s sight appear “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). The problem is, it may be too late when we finally learn that lesson!

It is the love of money that causes a lot of parental neglect. Mothers and fathers have no time to spend with their children. Both parents are working to bring home more dollars. It is assumed that if there is enough money, all the family problems will be solved. In the meantime, where is love? Where is the mother when daughter has a problem to discuss? Where is father when son needs special guidance and fatherly advice?

Many young people have become runaways. Others have become lawless. In a lot of cases, the lack of money did not influence them to do wrong. To the contrary, it may nave been too much in material things and not enough in true values that drove them.

It is the love of money that is behind much of what now works to destroy America. The pushers make dope addicts out of children because they want money. The liquor industry makes alcoholics by the thousands to build fatter profits. Pornography, prostitution, gambling, and organized crime have become big business in America because of the money involved. Corruption in government usually connects with payoffs.

The Bible is right when it declares that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). No nation is demonstrating this Biblical truth more vividly than twentieth-century America.

Truth Magazine XXI: 29, p. 460
July 28, 1977