“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.” I Timothy 6:10
I can hear the statements coming now… ”Oliver, don’t forget it says the love of money, not money itself.” Some version of the previous comment is usually thrown into every conversation about money among Christians. Before you go hurling stones my direction, please take time to consider the text above from I Timothy and these as well:
“but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” Mark 4:19
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:21-26
In my own thought life and in witnessing the responses of Christians, I usually find the following two responses to be most common:
- Avoid money at all costs
- These texts aren’t meant for me. I have no problem with loving money.
This seems to be a popular option among Christians. Maybe out of fear or a lack of knowledge, some people don’t want anything to do with money. Many times people with this opinion end up burdening the body of Christ. For some this might be an unwillingness or inability to provide for the family. For others it may be foolish decisions leading to debt and poverty.
Because money is viewed as evil, it is often handled improperly. The problem with this mindset is it’s not Biblical either. The Bible teaches us to use money as a tool to provide for our family, provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ, to extend the gospel to all nations, to provide for full-time ministers, and provide for the needy (among many other uses). It would be impossible to do any of the previously mentioned actions without money.
I’ve Got It All Figured Out – I Have No Problem With Loving Money
I don’t know about you, but I personally struggle with this attitude. I read the Bible and begin to feel convicted. Instead of confessing the sin and repenting, I start making excuses for why I need to focus on money. And the problem compounds. You can try convincing yourself this isn’t a problem, but you are wrong. Why do you think the Bible makes it so clear?
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24
You Can’t See It, Touch It, Taste It, or Feel It
The problem is a heart condition. That is why it’s such a touchy subject. Being rich won’t solve the problem. Being poor won’t solve it either. Think you’re safe somewhere in between? Sorry! It isn’t about income, net worth, investments, debt, trust funds, or anything else related to money itself. Only through careful meditation on Scripture and by asking God to reveal the condition of our hearts can we truly remedy the love for money. If you struggle with loving money, ask God for help. While your praying, ask him to help me, too!
Signs You May Be Focusing Too Much On Money
To wrap it up, I thought I would provide a checklist that I try to use in my own life to see if my priorities are in line with the Bible. Here is the list of things that help indicate when I’m focusing too heavily on money:
- Obsessing about paying off debt or becoming debt free.
- Checking investment performance too often.
- Trying to dream up profitable side hustles
- Budgeting and penny pinching to a point where my wife just rolls her eyes.
- Fretting over the state of the economy
- Trusting in myself instead of Christ
How do you deal with being a money lover in your own life?
Am I the only one who struggles with the love of money?