The Love of Money
By Fred Pruitt
“ For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10)
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After breakfast this morning I went upstairs to my desk, intending to do another Lanyon post. But before I could start on that, this just kind of dropped into my consciousness full force. It’s getting in a moment’s time a whole picture without words. It’s like seeing and perceiving a completed-everything about the subject at hand, in that brief momentary picture. But afterwards then it demands that it be moved to the front of the line and for me to put into linear words an explanation of the what I saw. The subject is the whole money and evil thing.
I’ve never spent a lot of time thinking about this or trying to understand it, but every once in a while this question comes to me: “Why does Paul say that?”
I would think other things might be the root of all evil. Self-for-self Pride, and all its accoutrements, would be my first guess. However I do suspect that when we get to the root of either word, “love of money” or Self-Pride, it will turn out to be the same source.)
So let’s first ask the question, what is money? An answer to that might be that money is a universal currency that replaced the barter system. Instead of trading six pairs of shoes for a horse and plow, money allowed one to have shoes and a horse and plow, because it could provide both.
Then what is the value of money? (I am speaking from the depths of what I learned in civics in high school, not as a professor of economics, so cut me a break if I’m not scholarly here.)
Money started out as coinage. It actually had an established value. Gold was the most precious, then silver. As tribal societies gradually developed into kingdoms with kings and governments, they began making coins of various sizes and metals with official stamps of the king or ruler. The governmental stamps supposedly guaranteed that the coin was the weight and metal it was purported to be. Many times in history the agents of the rulers were discovered minting coins that were of lesser weight and/or incorrect metal. Normally those who were caught doing that (the first counterfeiters), were dealt with extremely harshly. Nobody likes their money fooled with.
Those stamps on the coinage, representing the government and rulers, made them official currency of the realm. So in that sense, money was a symbol of two things. First, the authority and power of the king. And second, it was a symbol of perceived value. Value might be assessed based on the perceived market value in gold for a pair of oxen. However much gold people thought was a fair price for the oxen, became how many gold coins or silver coins it would take to buy them.
Eventually of course, all modern societies began to print, under governmental authority, paper money or scrip. Whatever the writing on the piece of paper said, that was the value of it. The paper itself had no value. If the government said it was worth $5.00, then it had a perceived value of $5.00, when its intrinsic value was virtually zero. Then we understand how it is that in every way possible, how money (which has no intrinsic value whatsoever) is a symbol of perceived value as dictated by the market and the government.
As the temporal world developed, money became and still is, a tool to procure goods and services and act as sort of a life-blood to keep societies going, whether for good or evil. It’s a product purely of this world, since we cannot take it with us. If used simply in the sustaining of life and to participate in our human societies for the betterment of not only ourselves but very much also for everyone else, it is and can be a source of great blessings and can help build better human societies for good, and for spreading the true Christ and Truth all over the world. All that is the proper “use” of money. Not money for money’s sake, not to hoard for ourselves, but to water the world around us for others as well as sustaining ourselves.
The “love” of money, however, causes a sinister usage of money.
The love of money is money for money’s sake.
The love of money is a black hole sucking everything into itself and letting nothing come back out.
The love of money is a blocked up dam, to keep almost everything in the reservoir dammed up, letting only a trickle out here and there to water our parched countryside.
The “love” of money represents self-for-self power.
The love of money believes that it ascends higher than God, because it deceives the ones who love it.
The love of money is the Ring of Power, the “one ring to bind them all,” as Tolkien revealed in LOTR.*
The love of money is rebellion against the highest, asserting that IT is the power.
For the lover of MONEY (which has never been anything else but a symbol, even when it had a perceived value of how many coins it takes to buy a cow), money IS God!
I’ll leave out the parentheses and say that again. For the lover of money, money IS God!
“If we have money, who needs God?” says that consciousness. “I’m rich, who can stand against me?”
The love of money is a bitch in heat and all the male dogs chase after her!
The love of money has caused every war in history.
Every war of aggression waged by rulers in history has been to enrich the kings and queens, who expect their subjects to die for them so that the can have extra territories and riches, or to assuage their never satisfied egos, or simply to save face. (Many of these kings I’m talking about were “Christian” kings, who lived in mythical land called, “Christendom,” where just like everywhere else on earth, self-for-self was the driving force!)
As long as the kings and queens got what they wanted, it didn’t matter how many lives of the peasants who fought for them were snuffed out and gone from their families awaiting them at home.
The rulers do not die for them.
But these tyrants will sorely punish and/or kill anyone who does not praise and give them their due adulations, while prostrating themselves at the feet of the tyrants.
Such were many kings of the past.
Here is the rest of what Paul wrote in that passage to his spiritual son, Timothy.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness … Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate (generous); Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim 6:6-12; 17-19).
*(LOTR = Lord Of The Rings)