Photo Above: Capistrano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia Photographer: David J Laporte
The Dangers of Money and the Desire to be Rich.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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 6:6-10
In the scriptures we see many warnings against the love of money and the desire to be rich. The desire to be rich comes with many snares. What are some of the snares and dangers of money?
The most obvious danger of riches is idolatry. Money offers endless avenues for us to be distracted from what is supposed to be important in our lives. Money can enable us to crowd God out. Money can enable us to crowd out the relationships we should be cultivating. Money can enable us to crowd out the good works and opportunities for service God has prepared for us. All of this crowding out can very likely lead to greater apathy for the things of God and a devaluation of the relationships God has for us.
Another danger of riches is simply greed. It is extremely easy to fall into the cycle of always wanting more and more regardless of what you already have. This desire doesn’t stop once you obtain a certain level of wealth, in fact can this desire can increase. (Ecclesiastes: 5:10)
The love of money can also make us less content. The very nature of pursuing money can tell us that we are lacking something. All too easily in this pursuit we can become less thankful. The less thankful we become, the more callous we become towards God. We are more apt to ask why God hasn’t provided certain things we believe we should have. We end up seeing God more as means to an end and not an end. God calls us to be satisfied in Him alone no matter our circumstances.
The love of money also can have a powerful ability to shape our identities. Monetary success can easily convince us that we are successful. We can falsely think that God also is pleased with our lives because we have had monetary success. Likewise, a lack of monetary success can convince us that God is somehow against us, mad at us, or not involved in our lives. Both of these lines of thinking are incorrect.
Money can give us a false sense of security and power. Money can come and go very easily. Jesus tells us not to even worry about what we eat or what we wear, but calls us to depend and trust in the Father for these things.
With all of this being said, money, in itself, is not necessarily bad. In fact Ecclesiastes 5:19 tells those with money to enjoy it. (Of course that should include sacrificial giving.) More than anything money is a tool with responsibilities and heavy warnings. So, the message we get is to be a good steward and be extremely careful. Let’s end with Paul’s exhortation to the Roman church “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”