I want to begin this lesson with an emphatic point.
Money, riches, wealth and abundance are not sinful or bad in themselves. We all know that it takes money to provide shelter and food for our family and everyone wants to be able to retire with some form of financial security.
Yet, we hear many falsely claim that “money is the root of all evil.” Now logically if money truly was the root of all evil, do you think they would pass the collection plate at church?
Let’s take a look at what Paul actually said;
1 Timothy 6:10 English Standard Version
10 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.
Notice the words in bold print. It is not the money that is the problem, but rather the love of money. It is the love of money that causes a craving that leads some to wander away from the faith. It is the love of money that has caused people to endure many pangs (pain or emotional distress).
Saving money and building financial security for retirement are things that everyone should try to do. These are good traits and there is nothing inherently wrong with building these habits; these are much better habits than learning to be a spendthrift.
However, these good traits or habits come with a warning. If we are not careful and keep ourselves firmly in the center of God's will, building wealth can lead to selfishness and self-centeredness. It can also lead to the sinful natures of pride and greed.
I know a very wealthy person who was honest about the relationship he had with his money. He wanted more. He said it had become a game and the goal was to continually increase his net worth. Naturally then, he wouldn’t give some of it away to help others. Along with his self-admitted greed, he was also very proud. This is the danger of money and wealth.
Again, it is not the money, but the love of money.
Most everyone remembers the character Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, who was a miserly fellow that did in fact love his money.
Now, I’m not comparing anyone to the character Scrooge, but I do want to ask a few questions for thought and meditation.
- Where do you place money and wealth on your list of life’s priorities?
- Do you worry about your financial status?
- Are you willing to give of your money or wealth to those who are in need?
Whether we have $100 or $1,000,000, if we keep God first in our life, loving Him and our neighbor as we are instructed, we have our priorities in proper order.
It is when we begin to love the money, that we get into trouble. It then becomes more than just the love of our money; we begin to place our trust in it and the security it brings. Then, it can lead to us not wanting to part with it; not willing to use our money to do good for someone else. When we see these things happening, we find ourselves on dangerous ground.
Jesus teaches us this point in the Gospel of Matthew, as follows;
Matthew 19:24 English Standard Version
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Whether Jesus is referring to a small opening in the large gate of a walled city, or referring to a simple needle, the message is clear. Rich people will have to be careful.
Jesus is referring to rich people who have placed their love and trust in money, above their love and trust in God. They have come to rely on their riches instead of God and from the way Jesus phrases the sentence, it is a common occurrence among rich folks.
In conclusion, if you are a Christian, you are richer than the wealthiest person on earth who doesn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior.
We came into this world with nothing and we will leave this world with none of our earthly assets. We cannot let Satan deceive us into loving money. We cannot let Satan deceive us into putting our trust in earthly riches. We cannot let Satan cause us to place at risk our eternal home over love and trust in money and riches.
We must keep our priorities in order, with God and our obedience to Him always at the top of the list.