The Root of All Evil
1 Timothy 6:6-10, NIV
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 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. 10 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.
Some sins are black and white, lying for instance. We might try to argue there are degrees of lying, white lies for example, but when we are not telling the truth, and trying to deceive others, we are lying. But what about greed? Virtually no one would claim (or admit) they are greedy, but how do we know? Paul speaks against, “the love of money (1 Tim. 6:10).” Because it is the “root of all evil”. However, instead of asking if I am greedy, which most of us would probably deny, we should ask, “am I loving something more than I love God, whether money, or what money can buy?” Again, we may claim we love God the most, but do we really? How do you know? How much do you think about God versus how much you think about making more money, or about something you desire to have? Are you content with what you have or do you desire more? Are you building bigger barns to storehouse your wealth to take life easy, to eat, drink, and be merry, as Jesus clearly illustrated in a parable (Luke 12:16-21)? How generous are you to God? Do you cheerfully give 10% or more of the income God has provided to you back to him (a tithe) because you desire to demonstrate your love to him in this way? Are you arguing in your head right now why you can’t give “that much money” because you “can’t afford it” (note: giving is an expression of faith, not what is left over at the end of the month). Or you may be arguing in your mind why giving a tithe is not binding for Christians because it isn’t mentioned in the New Testament (except it is, Matthew 23:23), or that we are no longer under the Law. We are free to give whatever we feel led to give (which is true, 2 Cor. 9:7, but we tend to give whatever is left over rather than a predetermined portion of our income, 1 Cor. 16:2. We give our leftovers).
The truth is the sin of greed is more pervasive than we realize, and it rots our heart and soul and diverts us from God as our first and only true love (love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength). Living in a culture of greed makes it so we can’t even tell when we are doing so, we are like fish in the water, unaware we are swimming and breathing it. We desire, we want, we pursue, we get. It’s the American way. There are believers who even use the Bible to defend their greed, because “God wants to bless you and make you wealthy”. Yes, God wants to bless you, and he may do so financially, but more than anything, God wants you to be holy, set apart for him and his use. The truth is, the desire for money works in competition with his holy desires for us and diverts our hearts away from God and God’s desires for us. We need to repent of our greed, knowing we are forgiven in and through Jesus Christ, and then we need to consciously take a path of contentment and generosity. Contentment means I am happy and satisfied with what God has already given me “if I have food and clothing, I will be content with that (1 Tim. 6:8).” Do you feel the resistance to contentment within you? That reveals the truth of your greed and sinful nature. Pull the root before it leads you astray, and away from God and his best for you. Walk the path of contement and choose to practice generosity and thankfulness.