Let’s talk about money. Sometimes people say money is the root of all evil, but the Bible never does. More on that in a moment. Further, the Bible never says being materially poor is somehow inherently better than not being poor – unless, that is, we are talking about people who are “poor in spirit.” Jesus said those people are indeed “blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3). Check out Genesis 13:2 which informs us, “Abram [i.e. Abraham] was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” Yet Romans 4:11 describes him as “the father of the faithful.” And James 2:23 refers to him as the friend of God.” Abraham demonstrates that a faithful and obedient child of God can be very rich in money and material things and yet exemplify the “poverty of Spirit” Jesus spoke of. The same truth is taught in Luke 19:1ff where Luke gives a detailed report of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus – “a chief tax collector” who was “very rich.” Zacchaeus was “of short stature” (vs 3b) but was head and shoulders above many of his contemporaries and millions of rich and not so rich people today – he recognized a dire need, rich though he was, to connect with Jesus. Then there’s Joseph, “a rich man from Arimathea, who himself had become a disciple of Jesus.” He requested Pilate for the body of Jesus after the Lord was crucified (Matthew 27:57). Pilate granted the request and Joseph lent his own new tomb (“in which no one else had yet been laid” – John 19:41) to Jesus from Friday afternoon till early Sunday morning when the Lord got up and walked out of it! Somehow Joseph knew he had needs riches couldn’t satisfy. Later in 1 Timothy 6:17 we are led to a similar conclusion – Christians can be “rich in this present age” – but are urged “not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” No command here to not be rich or sell all they have and give it away or divide it up equally with everybody else in the name of “financial justice.” Just a command to rich Christians to keep wealth in proper perspective, to be “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (vs 18), realizing riches may leave us (see Proverbs 23:5), and that we will all without exception one day leave them (Job 1:21 * Ecc.5:15).

Now, another important Bible truth about money. While the Bible never says “money is the root of all evil” – it emphatically declares in black and white in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Paul goes on in that verse to make clear some of the evil that sprouts from an inordinate love of money – “for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Wow! If human language can communicate an urgent warning that verse communicates one. A widespread but less widely believed saying is, “Money can’t buy happiness.” But Helen Gurley Brown likely spoke for many when she said, “Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.” But Paul’s inspired warning is that, unless kept in its proper place, money may become the chief source of our misery! And note this was originally written to a preacher as well as church members, with not a word about whether they were rich or poor! Having gold itself is not condemned – but greed is. Earlier at verse 7 Paul made clear why a torrid love affair with money to the neglect of spiritual riches will turn out to be a miserable mistake – “For we brought nothing into this world, and we can carry nothing out.” That’s something about money worth musing on. Will you think about it?