For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

This is one of the most misunderstood and misquoted Bible verses.

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It is often quoted as “Money is the root of all evil.”

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This misquote implies that money causes all of the problems in the world, but we know this is not true.  The Bible makes it clear that sin is the root of all evil.

Money itself is neutral.

It is neither good nor bad.  Money is simply a tool.

It is the love of money that is a problem.  There is quite a bit of debate about what this means.  My personal opinion is that it does not mean that trying to earn more money is a sin.

I believe that “love of money” is a problem when it leads to the sins of greed and selfishness.

When someone loves money more than they love God or other people, they will behave in ways that are unethical (and potentially illegal) in order to accumulate as much wealth as possible.

In my opinion, an ideal value system would look like this:

  1. God
  2. People
  3. Money
  4. Stuff

Money can be important (because it can be used as a tool to do awesome things), but God should always come first and people should come second.

Money Magnifies Your Personality

Money doesn’t make someone greedy, selfish, or arrogant.  Money magnifies what is already there.  A greedy person who earns more money will continue to be greedy.

A generous person who makes more money will become even more generous because he or she will have more to give.

There are plenty of broke people in the world who are greedy, and there are wealthy people who are quite generous.

Again, money is neutral.  Money itself is not the problem.

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More Money Means More to Give

Many people seem to feel that Christians have to be relatively broke to be “true” Christians.  Some see wealth in a very negative light.

While selling all of your possessions and living as frugally as possible so you can give generously to your church is an admirable thing to do if you want to do that, it’s not the only way to be a “real” Christian.

I once heard the quote: “Christians should earn as much as they can, save as much as they can, and give as much as they can.”

The more money you make, the more you have to give.  Imagine if you tithe 10% of your income and you make $20,000 per year.  That’s $2,000 per year.  In contrast, if you earn $200,000 per year and tithe 10%, you’d give $20,000.

$2,000 per year is great and will certainly have an impact, but you’d be able to make a much more substantial impact with $20,000 per year.

Yes, it is true that tithing isn’t the only way to be generous.  You can also give your time, talents, and knowledge.  But if giving financially is a priority to you, there’s no denying that the more you earn, the more you’ll be able to give.

Also, if you earn a high income, you might even be able to be more generous with your time.  Let’s say you own a business (with the potential to drastically increase your income).

Once you’re out of the initial start-up phase and you’re super successful, you may be able to cut back on your hours and perhaps work less than 40 hours per week.

This frees up time for other things, such as volunteering at church, going on missions trips, or starting a Christian blog.

Paying Yourself First

I once read about a couple who had no savings because they spent every penny giving to their church.  I cringed when I read this.

While I admire their dedication, generosity, and strong faith, I personally believe it’s important to take care of yourself and your family before you take care of others.

Dave Ramsey teaches this.  His teachings are based on the Christian faith and he does NOT encourage anyone to live without savings and give all of their money away.

Instead, he recommends this:

  1. Saving a basic emergency fund of $1,000.
  2. Paying off all non-mortgage debt.
  3. Saving a larger emergency fund (3-6 months of expenses).
  4. 15% of income to retirement accounts.
  5. College funding for children.
  6. Paying off the mortgage.
  7. Living (and giving) like no one else.

Extraordinary giving is the final step.  First, you get rid of all debt and build savings.

If a couple has no savings, they’re one emergency away from financial disaster.

Ending up in a bunch of debt because they didn’t save puts them in a bad situation…and not just for themselves.  If they end up broke, they aren’t going to have as much money to give to their church.

This reminds me of putting on your own mask on a plane before you help someone else.  If you haven’t taken care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.  This is not selfish – quite the opposite!

Does God want you to be rich?

You are free to disagree, but I personally believe that God does not mind if you are rich.  The more money you earn, the more you’ll be able to give.

Money itself is not a sin or a bad thing.  It is simply a tool… a tool that can be used to do wonderful, amazing things for God’s kingdom.

 

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