Money is a difficult topic for many people. Those who have it can become consumed by making sure they hang on to it, while those who don’t can easily become bitter or despairing because of the difficulties that often come hand in hand with financial strain. For others again it can become a dirty word, something they will resent and resist all their lives because of their upbringing, and possibly, misguided financial beliefs.
It is often said that “money is the root of all evil.” Many Christians will recognize this phrase as a bible quote. However, like a bit of sensationalist celebrity journalism it has been taken completely out of context. What 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says is: the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” In other words, a useful and necessary thing can become a force for evil in a person’s life if they allow it to take an inappropriate place in their minds and hearts.
Wanting a life free of debt and financial stress is not evil. Wanting a decent car and a safe, pleasant home is not evil. Wanting these things so much that you allow a desire for money to take over your heart, overriding more important things like love, faith, and moral values? That could certainly become a toxic force in anyone’s life- an evil, as it were. As Timothy said, to “wander from the faith” and “pierce yourself over with many griefs” is just not worth it.
In these troubled financial times, it is getting more and more likely that you or someone you love will be going through monetary difficulty. You or they may have had an excellent job previously, and that makes it even harder. This has happened to one of my dearest friends- she was used to relying on her high income (the ultrasound technician salary averages around $64,000 a year, very comfortable) but had not established a good savings plan, and found her quality of life dramatically changed almost overnight. Such a situation is distressing and sometimes embarrassing to deal with, so it is most important to be considerate and supportive of anyone in that situation.
Whether or not you are in a position to help your loved ones financially, at you can certainly offer them some strong words of comfort from the scriptures. In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan?” Later, he adds- “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Mt 10:29-31)