The Love of Money
The love of money causes all kinds of grief and the Bible warns Christians us against falling into this trap.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10) NKJV
This short passage of Scripture is very insightful. It teaches that:
- the love of money …
- stems from a root (that is evil) …
- that causes many believers to go astray from the Christian faith …
- because of greediness …
- and which results in many sorrows.
Roots and fruits
Roots become trees, which in turn bear fruit. The root and the fruit are inextricably connected. One cannot be separated from the other. The properties in the root will determine the nature of the fruit. In other words, a lemon tree will always bear lemons; orange trees, oranges etc. Jesus said that we can identify a tree by the fruit we see on the tree. This simply means that when dealing with people, it becomes self-evident to others where their focus is and what they place real value on. What we love motivates us. If we love God we will do the things the Bible teaches us to do. If we love the things of this world, we will be driven to do the things that the world says are important. What motivates us soon becomes self-evident to other people around us.
The love of money and covetousness is Idolatry
Jesus said about money …
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13) NKJV
Jesus had an amazing economy of words. But his words always struck the bulls-eye on any subject he commented on. In this passage Jesus immediately identified the problem with money: that it demands our allegiance, even our love.
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5) NKJV
It cannot be much clearer than that – covetousness is idolatry. Covetousness describes the condition of wanting everything we lay our eyes on, and constantly wanting more and more (greediness).
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) NKJV
The drive to want more and more money, power, fame etc, is driven by selfish ambition and ungodly desires, often the desire to glory ourselves rather than God. Money, status, power and fame, are very seductive. Money gives us a false sense of security, and an feeling of superiority over others. It is the way in which the world measures “success”.
Money is the currency of this world
This world does not function without earthly currency. But money only has perceived value on earth. Have you ever tried using your local currency in another country? Well – it does not work. In order to buy things in a foreign country, you have to exchange your local currency for foreign currency (what is today known as “foreign exchange” or “forex), so that you have the means to purchase goods and services in the country you are visiting as a tourist.
The kingdom of God is no different. Earthly currency has no value in God’s Kingdom. So if we want to enter the Kingdom of God, we need to understand what currency is acceptable there.
Souls are the currency of the Kingdom of God
The Bible states that those who win souls are wise. Those who win souls and bring others into the Kingdom of God are regarded as wise because they are investing for the future where their “wealth” cannot be corrupted, stolen, or devalued. So why are soul winners described as wise? Because the currency of God’s kingdom is souls. The souls of men are precious to God because He created us. God does not desire that any of His creation perish due to the destructive power of sin. Satan on the other hand, comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The Bible portrays the eternal conflict between the powers of good and evil. It vividly reveals that every human being has an enemy that is seeking to destroy them – not physically but spiritually, and this has eternal consequences. It is this context that soul winners are described as being wise – because they understand what has eternal value in God’s sight.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) NKJV
According to God, there is eternal value placed on the souls of men because after death, their decisions on earth will determine where they will spend eternity. God went to great lengths to send His only Son Jesus into the world in order that those who receive Him as Lord and Savior will be spared from the eternal consequences of sin and rebellion against God and His laws. (John 3:16)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “(Matthew 6:19-21) NKJV
Do not be concerned about your life
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34) NKJV
It’s really all about what we place our faith in. The God who created us has the capacity to sustain us. God promises to sustain those who rely on Him and who place their faith in him. Earthly children have great faith. They never questions their earthly parents, asking “where are you going to get money from next month to pay for our food, clothing and accommodation?” Children simply believe that the parents who brought them into the world, have the capacity to sustain them. It is no different with God. But the real difference is that, whereas earthly parents have limited capacity, God has limitless capacity and power. And this is why Jesus exhorts us to build our house on the rock of His Word, and not on sand. The significance of the metaphor is easy to understand. Rock speaks of permanence, and sand of the temporal. Only God can care for us now and for all eternity.
Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His Righteousness
It’s easy to miss something very important in the passage we have just read (Matthew 6:25-34). Although every Christian is instructed to not be concerned about their daily provision, there is a second instruction as well.
- Do not worry about your life (what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on) (v 25)
- Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (v 33)
What this really means is that when we place the kingdom of God first in our lives (actions, words, priorities, thoughts and daily practice), then we do not have to worry about our life (i.e. our daily provisions), because God Himself will see to it that we are adequately provided for. The key phrase is “seek first”; it means to diligently seek to do the will of God in all things, to actively pursue the things of the Kingdom of God, and obey His Word.
But unfortunately many Christians have fallen for a lie. They have believed the demonic lie that if only we give God earthly wealth (money), then God will provide for us. But earthly money does not represent God’s righteousness or His kingdom. Compared to heavenly power, glory and righteousness (holiness), money is extremely mundane and even profane. It represents a false god – an idol that can be worshiped even in the name of god. But it is a (false) god that we have created in our own image or in the image of man, and not the God of the Bible. We are not to worship the image of man but the image of God in all things. Those who worship God must do so in Spirit (i.e. the Holy Spirit), and in Truth (i.e. the Truth of the Word of God). We cannot simply attach our version of truth to something and then claim that this is how god works (as do many prosperity preachers who encourage the love of self and money). It should set off alarm bells for many Christians, that the god who in whose name we are told to love money, looks strangely like the world!
The misplaced confidence of the foolish (person) Psalm 49
Pay careful attention to this passage of Scripture.
“Hear this, all peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world, 2 both low and high, rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding. 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will disclose my dark saying on the harp. 5 Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? 6 Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him— 8 For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever— 9 That he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit. 10 For he sees wise men die; likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah 14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me. Selah 16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; 17 for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself), 19 he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. 20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish.”
Here are the key points arising from this passage:
- Money cannot save the costly souls of men (v 7, 8)
- Everyone eventually dies and has to leave their possession and wealth to others (v 10)
- Those who love money and have worldly wealth and power, secretly believe that they will live forever (v 11)
- Those who believe this lie are described as being foolish, as are their posterity who perpetuate the lie (v 13)
- At the time of death, no amount of earthly wealth, status or power will count for anything in the eyes of God. (v 17)
- A man may be in a position of honor (according to the world) when he dies, but if that person does not understand the truth that it all counts for nothing at the time of death, he is no different to the animals, who perish just as man does. (v 20)
What profit is there if a man gains the world but loses his soul?
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) NKJV
From the perspective of the Bible there is no profit. Not only is there no profit but there is in fact eternal loss if that person has not made peace with his Maker.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) NKJV