Avoiding the Love of Money
Rich or poor, anyone who loves money has a sin problem. However, being rich is not a sin, nor is it a sign that someone pleases God. On the other side of the coin, being poor is not a sin, nor is it a sign someone displeases God. No matter who you are, it's the **love** of money that is the problem.
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. - 1 Timothy 6:10
Money itself, and having money, even large amounts of money, is not a sin. God is the source of those riches and He is the one who gives the power to make wealth.
You are to remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth. - Deuteronomy 8:18
We need to remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. - Matthew 6:24
Should we strive to earn more money and better our living conditions? Is it sinful to want to earn more money? To desire to have a better job? Should we make the effort to learn a skill or go to school to get a better job? The question comes down to motives. Is the motive money? Or is the motive to create a better world? Which is more virtuous? Watch out! That's not the question. That is a false dichotomy.
Are you expecting me to say, "Chasing after money is a sin!" I'm not saying that. There is nothing wrong with working hard to have a better life for you and your family. That is a virtue supported by scripture. What is a sin is a life focused on getting more money for the sake of having more money... the love of money.
There is nothing wrong with having a comfortable life, if you recognize the source of that comfort... God. The problem with having money, and a comfortable life, is that people tend to take credit for what they have. They forget about God. They give themselves credit for their success, instead of giving God the credit. Money tends to replace God, resulting in the love of money replacing the love of God. A comfortable life is not evil, but it does make it more difficult to see your need for God.
Does that mean there is virtue in poverty? Not at all. Living in poverty does not make a person holy or closer to God. Wealth or poverty, both are externals. God looks at the heart. Where are your affections? On God or money? Where is your obedience? Are you obeying God, or doing whatever it takes to get money?
If a poor person comes up to you and asks for a couple of dollars, literally pleading with you for a couple of dollars to buy some food, is that a love of money? No. That's hunger. (See our page about feeding the hungry.).
If one person has more wealth, a better home, and a nicer car than another person, is that an injustice... meaning a sin? No. Not unless it was obtained through sinful means such as theft. Everything we have comes from God. Does that mean a person who does not have wealth should just give up and watch TV all day? After all, if God is the source of wealth, I might as well just wait until He decides I should get some. Absolutely not. That's not glorifying God.
We glorify God through using the skills, abilities, and resources God has given us, to glorify God to the best of our ability. When people look at us, or our family, they should see Jesus... someone who is working, striving, and doing their best to provide, protect, nurture, and teach their children to live a God-pleasing, righteous life.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. - Colossians 3:23
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31
Does having wealth mean the wealthy person owes the poorer person? No. (See our page about compassion.) There is no Biblical command requiring those who have money to give away their wealth. For example, it is wrong for the government to take money from one group of people and give it to another group of people. However, Christians have a heart to help other Christians. A sign of being a true Christian is that you help other Christians who are in need. In addition, Christians bear fruit (make disciples) which means we are concerned about the spiritual condition of non-believers, and as a result we are also concerned about their physical condition.
For example, for a
non-believer to die without Christ
God is the one who saves people. He chose, from the beginning, who will be saved. There is nothing we can do to get ourselves or anyone else saved.
Why then bother telling people about Jesus and the gospel? We are not commanded to save people, we are commanded to make disciples. You could say that we are to go out and find those whom God will save, and make disciples. We find them by sharing the gospel. Those who respond are the ones whom God chose to save at that time. A person who rejects the gospel today, may accept the gospel next week. The timing is in God's hands.
Why bother helping people, if God is going to save them anyway? In doing so we are becoming conformed to the likeness of Jesus... and God is glorified. Salvation is about glorifying God to the max. For example, if our love of Jesus leads us to sacrificially show compassion to a hundred people, none who become saved, so that the 101st hears the gospel and becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ, then God is glorified. That's what evangelism about about... it's ALWAYS ABOUT JESUS, not us.
is a tragedy. So Christians build hospitals, feed people, provide housing, and do other things necessary for life so that non-believers have physical life and can then hear the gospel proclaimed.
In addition, Christians provide for those in need. We give food, clothing, housing and more, at levels much greater than required for survival, showing the love of Christ. Christian love, demonstrated on the physical level, authenticates our message about the greatest love of all. The love of Christ demonstrated on the cross.
The answer is ALWAYS JESUS. Focusing on Jesus and glorifying Him. He is your Lord and Savior. Glorify God by giving to others. Glorify God through generosity. Glorify God in your kindness and humility as you tell others about life in Jesus Christ. Focus your thoughts and actions on doing and thinking His way, and in all you do, glorify God.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus never sinned. He always obeyed the Father... perfectly.
Anyone who has sinned cannot pay the sin debt of another person they have their own sin debt to pay.
Only someone totally free from sin can pay the sin debt we have earned. Jesus is that unique person.
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. - 1 John 3:5
Jesus is our perfect example:
We are to be like Jesus... we are to be an image of Jesus. That means our goal is to be free from sin. That means we perfectly understand God's Law and we perfectly obey God in all things. It's an impossible goal, but that's no excuse... and that is why we need Jesus. We cannot contribute to our salvation and then Jesus takes care of the areas where we fail. There is nothing we can contribute. We are dead in our sins. Jesus does it all on behalf of all who repent and believe in Him.