Is Money The Root of All Evil?
For the love of money Balaam desired to curse Israel in return for a handsome payment from Balak. But when God refused both for Balaam to curse Israel and therefore earn the treasure, Balaam later devised a deceptive plan to get Israel to disobey God and worship idols so that he could still earn his payment from Balak (Revelations 2:14; Numbers 22-23; 2 Peter 2:15-16).
For the love of money Elisha’s servant Gehazi lied and secretly obtained the payment which Elisha himself refused from Naaman after Naaman had been cured of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27).
For the love of money Judas would not only occasionally steal from the treasury of Jesus’ ministry, but he also betrayed Christ because of money which was paid to him by the chief priests and elders (Matthew 26:47-50; Matthew 27:3-8).
So we notice just from these few examples that the love of money can cause people to do many strange and wicked things.
For example, in our present day, people around the world have been known to sell their souls to the devil in order to obtain fame and money. Some will sexually sell or prostitute their bodies – all for the love of money. Even to this day, many people are sold as modern-day slaves – all for the love of money.
People will kill for it. Some will die for it. Others will betray friends and family because of it.
Ironically, in many societies and economies, man-made poverty exists among many people because of the love of money. How? When the rich and powerful exploit the poor and the desperate in order to gain more material wealth. In the end the rich get richer and poor become poorer.
Furthermore, many cults and false teachers exist because of the love of money and therefore millions of people over many years have been deceived or spiritually abused because of it.
1 Timothy 6:10 says “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”. [Emphasis Added]
In 2 Timothy 3:2 it says that in the last days people will be “lovers of money”.
The love of money breeds dishonesty, corruption, greed and a lack of integrity within the human heart. The love of money according to 1 Timothy 6:10 can create a craving that eventually leads to wickedness, deception and self-destruction.
In Psalms 37:16 it says “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked”.
What Did Jesus Teach About Money?
Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, it is certain that Jesus had a very consistent message and view when it came to the issue of money.
1. Jesus did not encourage the love nor the craving pursuit of money. For example Jesus said that we cannot love God and money (Matthew 6:24).
2. Jesus viewed money and earthly treasure as temporary and not a priority that is to be sought after. For example Jesus told us not to seek after treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy but rather to seek after heavenly pursuits (Matthew 6:19-21).
3. Jesus understood that money was a false god to many people. For example, the rich young man who claimed to follow all the commandments of God exposed himself as being idolatrous. He loved money more than Christ because he refused to let go of his wealth in order to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22).
4. Jesus taught that life does not consist in the abundance of things or possessions (Luke 12:15).
5. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matthew 19:23-24).
Therefore we will notice that even Jesus’ views and teachings on the issue of money strongly differs with the false prosperity gospel doctrines or teachings of many false teachers.
According to 1 Timothy 6:10 the love of money has caused many people to wander from the true faith or from true, sound Biblical doctrine.
For example, the love of money within the church alone, has created many false gospels / doctrines such as the prosperity gospel, seed faith teachings and word of faith teachings which have led many people astray.
It is because of such wickedness and many more that Scripture tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
How Can We Measure or Discern The Love of Money
Money itself is not evil. However according to 1 Timothy 6:10 it is the love or craving of it that opens doors to all kinds of evil. The love of money is measured by what we are willing to do for it. For example:
a) Are we willing to cheat, deceive or forsake godly and Biblical principles in pursuit of it?
b) Are we willing to sacrifice our integrity and relationships to obtain it?
c) Are we content with what we have or have we fallen into the trap of consistently craving for it?
d) Are we motivated by a spirit of greed and do we insatiably desire it even when it is not really necessary?
e) Do we feel self-confident and secure when we have it, as opposed to when we don’t have money?
f) Do I consistently compare my material and financial situation with others? And am I motivated by jealousy or covetousness to pursue money?
Money itself should only function as a worldly tool that is meant to serve us. We need it in order to transact for goods and services. However we should be careful to avoid falling into the trap or snare where we become slaves to it and we live in order to pursue it rather than to pursue the things of God. We must also not fall into the trap of believing the accumulation of money will satisfy our every human need and desire.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV) says “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity”
Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV) says that “we should keep ourselves away from the love of money because God will never leave us or forsake us”.
Ultimately it is God whom we must trust to provide for our needs. Philippians 4:19 says that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Our true satisfaction in life is found in Jesus Christ through having a relationship with Him. Christ alone is our satisfaction and our true Source of all that is good for life.
No matter our current financial situation, we must look to God as our true and only Source for all that we need so that we may avoid the love of money.