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Listen while you read: "Jesus I Come"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 13:5a – Don't love money; be satisfied with what you have. (NLT)
"Money is the root of all evil."
Though my standard of living would be considered rich by third-world standards, by American standards, I've rarely lived a comfortable lifestyle. Making the monthly bills match the monthly income has always been a challenge. In spite of that, more than once, I've made the mistake of buying things that I didn't need. My grandmother and mother often said, "That money is burning a hole in your pocket." All the while, I was thinking, Well, if I had more, maybe it wouldn't. Somewhere along the line, someone would comment, "You know, the Bible says, 'Money is the root of all evil.'" And I would mumble under my breath, "No, it doesn't." I was a preacher's kid. I may not have always abided by biblical principles, but I knew what they were.
This quotation is similar to the verse in the Bible which is often misquoted: "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil." (1 Timothy 6:10a NLT) Money isn't the issue; the love of it is.
The Bible says a lot about money — or possessions — they are the same. I may not have cash in hand, but if I have possessions (even stocks and bonds), I have money. Liquidating my assets would give me spendable funds. Jesus had a great deal to say about money, and the disciples and apostles who continued His teachings carried on the tradition.
One thing that the Bible doesn't teach is that money is the root of all kinds of evil. Leaving out the word "love" changes the meaning and distorts the truth. To be sure, those who have great amounts of money normally love it, but the principle remains: having money isn't the root of all evil.
Loving my money — in whatever form it takes — will cause me issues, not having the money itself. Money is necessary to pay my bills so that I can exist in a monetary economy. Loving my money, on the other hand, will lead me down roads to greed, selfishness, poor decisions, crime, unhealthy relationships, and possibly an eternity apart from God.
Instead of letting money be a root of evil in our lives, let us use it to help others and advance God's kingdom work. Let's give graciously, sacrificially, and with honourable motives.
Prayer: Father, motivate us to use our money in ways that please You and better our world. Amen.