I brought this post out of The Vault today to do two things:
1) to remind myself on this Valentine’s Day the trap that awaits when I choose to put my affection in the wrong place and,
2) to introduce a new feature on Luke1428 called “Theology Thursdays.” It is my goal for Thursday’s post to include a spiritual perspective as it relates to our responsibilities towards money, wealth and personal finance. Hopefully that will be a blessing to you as I share what is on my heart.
So with that introduction, re-enjoy “For the Love of Money” (first appeared on Aug. 3, 2012).
“Money money money money, MONEY!”
“Some people got to have it…some people really need it…Hey, listen to me, y’all do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – bad thangs with it.
Well, you wanna do thangs, do thangs, do thangs – good thangs with it…talkin’ about cash money…
“For the love of money people will steal from their mother…For the love of money people will rob their own brother…For the love of money people can’t even walk the streets because they’ll never know who in the world they’re gonna beat for that mean, oh mean, mean green – Almighty Dollar! Cash Money…
For the love of money people will lie, rob, they will cheat…For the love of money people don’t care who they hurt or beat…For the love of money a woman will sell her precious body…For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight, Oh, that mean, mean, mean, mean, mean green, Almighty Dollar!”
And with those words the O’Jays in 1973 tried to put their best soul/funk spin on one of the most misread and twisted verses about money in the entire Bible. (Interestingly enough, the lead singer of the O’Jays, Eddie Levert, has complained that over the years since his song became a hit, the songs message has been twisted to promote pro-idolatry practices. The song’s original intended message was about self-awareness and personal control.)
This core theme about money from the Bible brings us to I Timothy 6:10 which states, “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.” But how many times in your life have you heard the verse quoted, “Money is the root of all evil”? Which then gets interpreted and stretched into the next thought…“Money is evil.”
Like all other inanimate objects, money is not inherently evil. It has no personality, no soul, no conscious or mind with which to produce evil thoughts or actions. It is neutral…neither good or bad. Therefore, we don’t need to fear that by touching it, evil printing press ink will rub off on our skin and mystically force us into doing evil things. It is only when human passion is directed with intense commitment towards this neutral object that evil results. Money leading to evil requires a uniquely human touch.
Other than the obvious point of money leading to various kinds of evil, there are two other important realities present in this verse:
- Greediness for money causes some people to stray from their faith. We are not reading here about a loss of faith. Rather, it is a turning in focus from God where we no longer exercise faith in His daily provision. We no longer feel a need to rely on God to meet our needs, and because of this mindset, our faith in Him weakens. “If I have the means to provide for myself now”, the thinking goes, “Why do I need God?”
- The greedy accumulation of wealth can lead to many sorrows that otherwise may not have resulted if the person lacked wealth. Wealth brings with it tremendous freedom, access and power. There are opportunities that present themselves to the wealthy and many times these opportunities are not beneficial. (I’m sure you can insert here any number of people from our contemporary culture who experienced life pain and sorrow because their wealth took them places where they should not have gone.)
In our pursuit of being debt free and financial freedom we must be spiritually strong and on guard to confront the temptations that come with great wealth. We have a spiritual adversary who knows how powerful the lure of money can be. He knows we need it to manage our lives, and he uses the fear of not having it to twist our mind and emotions into justifying certain wrong behaviors.
The accumulation of money is not an evil pursuit, but this verse serves as a warning. We should grow our financial nest egg, but we dare not fall in love with it. There is only room in our heart for one God.
Has the pursuit of money caused you any sorrow?
How do you balance the dynamics of your faith and your accumulation of wealth? Does one help or hurt the other in your opinion?
Next Post: The Un-American Way: Saving for Purchases
For the O’Jays fans: