Summary: It is plain to see that money is an easy god to love, and the worshipper of it can easily win converts to it. It is likely the most popular of all the religions of the world, even though it is never listed among the world religions.
When a Mr. Blodgett won 25 thousand dollars on a TV program
the master of ceremonies asked him what he was going to do with
the money. He replied, "It will probably all go to charity." The
audience broke into a tremendous round of applause while the band
played for he's a jolly good fellow. After the excitement subsided the
master of ceremonies turned to the winners wife and asked if that
met with her approval. She responded, "Why certainty my name is
Charity." Here was a man who knew how to avoid a fight about
money. He simply surrendered. Most mates do not do so, however.
Studies among students indicate that the cause for most arguments
in the home are about money. One man said his home split up for
religious differences. His wife worshipped money and he didn't
have any. Many men complain that their wife's favorite book is the
checkbook. Once they start one they can't put it down until they
finish it. Robert Schuller said, "Whether a man ends up with a nest
egg or a goose egg often depends on the chick he marries."
One of Henry Ward Beecher's favorite stories was about a young
man who applied for a job in a New England factory. Asking for the
owner, he was ushered into the presence of a very nervous man. He
said to the young man, "The only vacancy we have is vice-president.
The man who takes the job must shoulder all my cares." The young
man responded, "That is a tough job. What is the salary?" The
owner replied, "I'll pay you ten thousand a year if you will take over
all my worries." "Where is the ten thousand coming from," the
young man asked suspiciously. "That my friend," replied the
owner, "Is your first worry."
Worry over where the money is coming from has always been a
wide spread practice. Epicurus, the ancient philosopher, said that
being rich did not end your worries, but just gave you different
worries. A modern writer said, "I know at last what distinguishes
men from animals: Financial worries." This is not the whole
picture, but it is a fact, and the fact of men being worriers over
money is becoming more and more evident as prices continue to rise
and taxes threaten to gobble up what inflation has not already
Bird images have always been common on money. One of the
famous coins of Alexander the Great had an eagle on it, which is also
true of our American currency. A modern poet sees in this a symbol
probably not intended by the engravers. He writes, "Eagles on
dollars are proper and right, because they symbolize swiftness of
flight." Money talks, but for most people it never stays around long
enough for a good conversation. Richard Armor said, "That money
talks I'll not deny, I heard it once: it said goodby." Money still talks
today but it makes less cents.
All of this negative thinking about money as being a cause for
worry and hard to hold on too is based on the assumption that
money is good and nice to have in sufficient quantities. Why worry
about it, or be concerned at its departure if it is not good? Christians
have all the same complaints and so they too feel that it is good to
have money, and that it is a positive good. Why then is the most
famous statement in the Bible about money that, "the love of money
is the root of all evil?" It is often misquoted as money is the root of
all evil. But Paul does not intend to convey the idea that money is in
itself evil in any way. It is the love of it, and the greed and avarice
and covetousness this leads to that is the root of all kinds of evil.
Failure to make this important distinction has led to many false
attitudes based on this verse.
Before we look at what Paul is saying we must first look at what
he is not saying. We must first speak in defense of money as a good
thing. Paul knew that money was essential for maintaining the
church. He urged Christians to give generously every week. He also
sought to collect money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Paul
was not anti-money man. He was only anti-avarice. Money can be
used to fulfill the will of God and provide most everything man
needs for happy and effective living. Even the higher things of life
an spiritual experiences depend upon ones ability to buy good books,
music, and art. But even the thousand and one commonplace
necessities are not to be treated lightly. Many testimonies can be
summed up in the words of an unknown poet.