Is Money the Root of All Evil?

Mark Twain often said funny things about money, politics, and investing.

It is not surprising that things God says are changed to suit someone’s agenda. Many prosperity gospel adherents teach that God wants you to be rich in possessions and earthly wealth and physical health. That is not what God wants for any person. The prosperity gospel suggests God rewards increases in faith with increases in health and/or wealth.

It is possible to build a case for this goofy theology using selected scriptures, including some in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. However, it is a case that cannot be defended. That is not to say that all rich people are lacking in true faith. Faith, or trust in God and his promises, has value far beyond the accumulation of possessions or temporary good health.

Get to the Root of the Problem

The root of man’s problem is idolatry. I’m not talking about statues or figures that are found in many of the world’s religions. Every person living in the USA may not have an idol in the way we typically view idols in the western hemisphere, but we all have idols. This is a serious heart issue. In the ten commandments, God says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 That is the very first of the ten.

Then God goes on to say, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6

Anything I serve can be my idol. You tend to serve the things you love. Herein lies the problem with money. The rich, the middle class and those in poverty all share in this problem. It is so very easy to love money. But God says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil and you will never be satisfied with money. That doesn’t mean we won’t try to be satisfied with money, but we won’t be in the end.

“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.” 1 Timothy 6:10

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

How to Identify a Follower of Jesus

If you have food and something to wear, then as a follower of Jesus contentment follows. “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five-Minute Friday link-up.

All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.