Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Love of Money

Blessed are the poor. Store your treasure in heaven where no thief can steal or moth destroy. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven. Growing up hearing these Bible passages, I arrived at adulthood thinking that money just might be a curse that would lead to Hell’s fires. As I began to make my way in the world, I actually got anxious about my success. 
After all, “Money is the root of all evil” – right?
I have heard this said more than once. It’s a safe bet you’ve heard it, too. Whenever it is said, everyone murmurs in agreement. Money is evil. How can this be? Sometimes people do bad stuff to get money. Sometimes people do bad stuff with the money they’ve got. I get that. But you can also do all kinds of cool, non-evil stuff with money. So then, what’s the deal? Is money really the root of all evil in the world?
This may surprise you but after careful consideration, I’m gonna go with, “No.”
This oft repeated statement is actually a misquote of a Bible passage – 1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV)
So, it’s the LOVE of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Aha!
This is an important distinction. It’s not the money that is evil. It’s the love of it – the misplaced love that gives birth to all kinds of misery. Putting money above that which it should not be put above – also known as greed – is the real problem. 
Money is a tool, not unlike a hammer. A hammer can be used for good – to build something beautiful or useful. A hammer can be used to damage or destroy. We don’t praise the hammer when it builds something good, and we don’t blame the hammer when it is used to destroy. No one ever says, “Hammer is the root of all evil.” It’s just a tool. The person who is holding the hammer gets to determine if that tool will be used to build or damage, to create or to destroy. 
And so it is with money. It’s OK to like it, the same way you might like and appreciate any useful tool.  Just don’t love it, and you’ll avoid the “many griefs” waiting for those who do.

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