By Mark Andrew Beach
What do the scriptures really teach us about money? Space will not permit us to do an exhaustive study of the bible with respect to money and wealth, but I will touch briefly on just a few passages.
First, “…money is the root of all evil”, This comes from 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The operative words in this verse are “love” and “coveted”. In other words, Timothy is saying don’t “covet” money. This is starting to put it into perspective, but let’s go a little farther. We have all been told that we should not covet. But where is that from?…Ah yes, it is one of the ten commandments. We remember now, “Thou shalt not covet.” What shall we not covet? “…thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s” In other words, coveting is wanting that which is not ours; that which belongs to someone else.
Now if you think about it a little more, coveting is the one commandment that precedes acting on all the others like lying, stealing, killing, cheating, etc. If you break these any of these commandments, the process started with coveting, this is therefore, the root of all evil. So it stands to reason that coveting money (that which is not yours) is the root of all evil…true statement, but clearly mis-interpreted and mis-understood by many bible scholars.
Let’s take this scriptural interpretation one step further and look at the reality of the fact that, money, honestly earned and righteously obtained is at the root of all good too. I’ll talk more about that in just a minute.
Here’s another passage. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 9:24). There is a lot more that I could go into with respect to this specific passage, but space will not permit. Suffice it to say, that the “needle” is not what we think of when we think of a needle. It is a common term for a portal into the ancient cities through which camels had to pass under certain conditions. To do so, the camel had to be stripped of its load and crawl through the portal on its knees. This mental picture helps us better understand what Jesus was trying to teach his followers. Obviously, it was not impossible for the proverbial camel to get through the proverbial eye of the needle. However, note the conditions the camel had to meet to get through. It was stripped of all material things it was burdened with and it came through on its proverbial knees; a symbol of humility. Now that is a visual I can grasp, as I seek to enter the kingdom of God. Once inside the proverbial city, or symbolic kingdom of God, I can see our camel, or rich man being re-saddled and continuing on with his mission.
The last bible verse I am going to highlight is, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” implying that we should never seek for riches. However, Matthew 6:33 states “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” What “things” is Jesus referring to here? Riches. What this bible verse is really saying is “Don’t seek for riches until you have entered the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Let’s try it on this way: We should not seek for riches until we have a hope in Christ, and when we have a hope in Christ, we can receive riches if we seek them.
But why would we seek riches if we have this hope in Christ? Here is where I introduce the idea of money honestly earned and properly used can be the root of all good. So how about obtaining wealth to build God’s kingdom here on earth; does God not work through us? God could just wave his hand and fix all the hunger, sickness and suffering in the world. But is it also not true that one of God’s laws is that He will not do for us, that which we could and should do for ourselves? Have we not been charged to love our neighbor? And who is our neighbor? Think of the Good Samaritan now. Could the Good Samaritan have done what he did for his neighbor if he had been broke?
We all know that there are natural laws which govern our lives, even our very existence on this planet. We don’t have to believe in them…try telling the world you don’t believe in the law of gravity. These natural laws cannot be broken, we can only break ourselves on them; kind of like God’s commandments. Well, here’s the bridge. In reference to the God of Nature, His law IS Natural law. As our creator, He has given us these laws and principles of success and prosperity for a reason…so…Why would He (God) want US to be Rich?
The answer to that question is – to build the Kingdom of God on earth. And when we have that hope in Christ I was referring to earlier and we are living these principles and truths related to creating wealth and abundance in connection with all the commandments… these activities not only give us that hope in Christ, but it create the wealth and the means to build God’s kingdom in the process.