By Mark Mayberry
You’ve heard the saying, “Money is the root of all evil.” As they say in Tennessee, “It ain’t so, McGee!” We should realize that money is not inherently evil. Money itself is neither good nor bad. When used properly it can accomplish much good. However, for money to become the driving force in our lives is a perilous sin. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (KJV). The text doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil; it says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Other translations give a slight variation to the last part of this verse: the NAS says money is “the root of all sorts of evil.” The NIV says it is “a root of all kinds of evil.” What are some of the dangers that come from a love of money?(1)
1. The desire for wealth becomes a thirst which is unquenchable. A Roman proverb said that wealth is like sea water; it doesn’t quench man’s thirst, it makes it greater. The more man gets, the more he wants! Christians are to have a vastly different attitude. “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:6-8). Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire . . . .” We should enjoy what we have rather than constantly be longing for more. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you… (NAS). The following popular song illustrates the concept we are talking about.
“A Satisfied Mind”(2)
How many times have you heard someone say,
“If I had his money, I could do things my way.”
But little they know, it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.
Once I was living in fortune and fame,
Everything that I dreamed of to get a start in life’s game.
Then suddenly it happened, I lost every dime,
But I’m richer by far with a satisfied mind.
‘Cause money can’t buy back your youth you’re old,
Or a friend when you’re lonely,
Or a love that’s grown cold.
The wealthiest person is a pauper at times,
Compared to the man with a satisfied mind.
When life has ended, my time has run out,
My friends and my loved ones I’ll leave, there’s no doubt.
But one thing for certain when it comes my time,
I’ll leave this old world with a satisfied mind.
2. The desire for wealth is founded upon an illusion. We think it will give us security, but it brings us anxiety. The more a man has to keep, the more he has to lose. We can easily become haunted by the risk of loss. “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep” (Eccl. 5:12). “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17-18, NAS).
3. The desire for money tends to make us selfish. Our thoughts become fixed on ourselves. However, the Bible says we are to have concern for the needs of others. “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10, NAS). “But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 Jn. 3:17-18).
4. The love of money can easily lead a man into wrong ways of getting it. There are right and wrong ways of gaining money. Many accumulate riches by dishonest, deceitful and immoral means. The Christian should not work at a job that brings disgrace upon the name of the Lord. We are not just talking about illegal activities. There are certain ways of earning money that are legal in the eyes of the state, but still wrong in the sight of God: i.e., gambling, producing and distributing alcohol, operating bars, night clubs or dance halls, etc. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (Prov. 16:8).
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 23, pp. 707-708
December 5, 1985