Is money the root of all evil? The actual verse says: for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Through this craving, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
The Love of Money
It may feel like semantics – money is the root of all evil versus the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is an emotional tug-of-war. You know you need money, need to accumulate and protect yourself and get to a place of stability. And yet, this thing is the root of all evil, so why would you want more of that? Everyone has decided that because of this misquoted verse, money is problematic. But money is neutral; it is not the source of anything, not even your security. When we assign evil to this neutral thing, we disregard the true source of evil, which is us. It’s our love of money, an unquenchable craving for more of it because we’ve fallen in love with what we think it gives us. It’s us, and it’s an important distinction because, culturally, this belief that money is evil has become more prevalent.
If you can accumulate money, if you can build up your resources to find stability and confidence, and do that without falling in love with any of it, you are in a position to change the world. However, almost none of us go there because we have collectively convinced ourselves that money, in and of itself, is an evil thing that taints those who wield it. There is an assumption that if money is involved, people are cold and evil because money makes them that way.
This is why our conversations around money are so uncomfortable. You almost can’t celebrate any material success you have – you can’t talk about the big bonus you just got or the sale you just closed. Money is such a taboo topic because when we talk about having it, culture says that we are bad. At the same time, we have tv shows dedicated to people putting their money on display. We have to see that the root of evil is our misplaced love. It’s not the money’s fault. You can be wildly materially successful and not crave it to the point where it owns you. It’s hard to do, sure. There will be constant opportunities to fall in love with the security, the status, the power. In this culture, the stuff that comes with money is so easy to love. It’s not just material possessions, it’s the influence too. We need to pay attention to the fact that money is neutral and we are not. We actually injure ourselves with our misplaced love. So how do we stop ourselves from falling in love with money, tripping into the root of all kinds of evil?
Have A Bigger Love
One of the most important pieces is to define who you are. Get to a place where you know what you’re about as a person and a member of society; a place where you know your purpose, who you are as a family, and you have your vision and mission figured out, separate from money. Then, money becomes a tool. If you don’t have any of that figured out, money becomes the means to an end. If we establish who we are first, we can make money work for our purpose. You have to focus your capacity for love on something more valuable, more meaningful, more human.
The other thought is that you need to make sure you’re telling yourself the correct story about how you got here, one that doesn’t sound “self-made”. When you tell yourself, “I did this, I created all this, it is all mine,” it’s easy to fall in love with that. You can start to become that craving, obsessive, and power-hungry. And what feeds those things? Money. But when you tell your story in a way that recognizes that you are wildly fortunate, that 90% of the things that mattered in your story had nothing to do with you, the lens you look through shows a different picture. The family you were born into, the school you went to, the time in which you graduated, all these things set you up for what you were able to accomplish. If you recall our episode with Andrew Tudor, there are shoulders you’re standing on. When you step back and realize that, you can stay connected to how fortunate you are and that none of it is yours. You can hold it more loosely. So much of it was, frankly, given to you based on circumstances outside of your control.
A Rich Life
Later in that same chapter in First Timothy 6:17 it says “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, …………which is truly life” That is what it looks like to live the rich life. It does not say: tell the rich not to be rich. It says: tell them to be ready, to be generous. Sure, have money, but be willing and excited to do something meaningful with it. That is how we combat the root of all evil, the love of money…we have a more significant love.
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