Root of Evil

I recently heard the Bible misquoted and thought about a Christian’s stewardship of financial resources.

Misquote: “Money is the Root of All Evil.”

You’ve probably heard this common misquote before. Maybe you’ve made it yourself. How bad could it be? Let’s start with the original quote:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Timothy 6:10

So the misquote is missing “For the love of” and “all kinds.” How does this change the meaning? It changes the meaning pretty significantly. “For the love of money” is concerned about our relationship to money. If we love money, or worse still, make it our ‘god,’ we break our relationship with the true God of heaven and earth. That will get you seriously off track, and it will have eternal consequences.  If we misquote and just say “money” we attempt to make a neutral object into a malevolent spirit. I’ve heard of the analogy of money being like a brick. We can take a lot of bricks and stack them together to make a building like a hospital or church. That doesn’t make the brick good. Conversely we can take a brick and throw it through a window. That doesn’t make the brick bad. It’s how WE use that brick that determines whether we view it as good or bad. It’s just an object.

“All evil” or “All kinds of evil” – this makes a difference too. “All evil” implies that money (a neutral object) is ultimately responsible for all evil done on the earth. Or, if you correctly interpret the first phrase, that greed is ultimately responsible for all evil done on the earth. It’s foolish to make statement with absolutes and clearly it’s not always true.

So, while the misquote suggests that, “Money is ultimately responsible for all evil done,” what it really means is more like, “People do all sorts of evil deeds because of a controlling desire for money.” That’s quite a difference!

In the end, what it leaves us with is: Love God and use money – to do good things in God’s world.

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