Is obtaining money always an evil?
The passage which is always quoted for this question is 1 Timothy 6:10, which says:
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.
As many of you know, the key words in that verse are “the love of money”, which then becomes the root of all kinds of evil. And then the quick response is that if you love those riches, you are susceptible to evil.
Yes, this is true.
But it’s more complex than that. How do you know the difference between pursuing money for the right reasons and loving money, which is an evil reason?
The answer lies in motivation.
Using Money for Good Works
Later in that chapter of 1 Timothy, Timothy is instructed to teach rich people to do good deeds and be generous and willing to share. He didn’t tell them not to be rich. He told them use their finances the right way.
If your motive of gaining revenue is to be able to be generous, then you are on the right path.
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Using Your Gifts to Obtain Money
Part of our worship to God is using our entire lives to honor God – including using all the gifts which God has given us.
Yes, those gifts must be used to care for the church (we’ll get to that in a minute).
But just the general pursuit of honing in the skills God has given you is an honest way to serve God.
Furthermore, since giving generously is a legitimate spiritual gift according to that same chapter of Romans which explains about using our lives to honor God, then pursuing the ability to generate revenue is a godly endeavor.
Develop every skill you have, including that of finance and investment. And if you are doing it for God, then you are not in the realm of “the love of money”. Rather, you are pursuing financial gain in order to grow your character, which pleases Him.
Using Money to Care for the Church
Paul’s team consisted of ministry leaders, leading women and benefactors. Another recent article digs into the idea of benefactors more in depth.
But for the purposes of this article, just understand that there were wealthy people who helped Paul fund his minstry. They gave financially; they allowed him to board at their homes; they hosted churches in their homes; and they participated on his team.
Pursuing financial resources to be a strong member of a Paul-like team is a very good thing. Providing those resources to the church is critical to the mission, which is the establishment and expansion of the church.
You do not have “the love of money” and all its evil implications if you generate revenue for this end.
Not Hoping in Money
Going back to 1 Timothy 6, we get a really great explanation of where your hope should lie in relation to finances.
Paul said that putting your hope in riches is a false hope. Instead, wealthy people must not trust in their fortune, but rather trust in God. And they should demonstrate that trust by being generous. As they give to others with a happy heart, they lay up treasures for themselves for when Christ returns.
Nothing demonstrates trust in God more than giving away what He has given you. But the trust is what is most important.
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Piercing Yourself Through with Money
Again in 1 Timothy 6, Paul said:
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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.
Loving riches will cause you to make stupid mistakes. They are self-inflicted wounds, without a doubt.
Some of the results you’ll see are:
- Unnecessary risks leading to financial disaster.
- Neglect of your family, leading to all kinds of problems.
- Neglect of God, leading to all kinds of ungodliness.
- Compromise of the morals and values prescribed by God to those who want to walk in the spirit, and not in the flesh.
Avoiding these results can only be done by relieving yourself of the love of money.
Don’t seek financial gain at the cost of all the important things. Pursue investments with a righteous heart and generous heart so that you can serve God with every bit of your body and spirit.
Also published on Medium.