The Love of Money
We have been discussing how to be wise with the resources God has given us, and how it is possible to get out of debt. Our decisions with money have wide ranging implications that affect us and those around us. We have also seen that we should not be anxious about these matters, and seek wisdom from God about how we handle our finances. This goes farther than just anxiety, and it would be wise to look at Scripture’s warnings about the love of money. While getting out of debt is certainly a wise endeavor, we must always be careful our desires and aspirations do not become skewed by sinful desire. A large ingredient to obeying God’s desires with respect to money is contentment. 1 Timothy 6 speaks on this topic, and verses 8-10 are especially helpful. “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.” Even if we are in debt, most of us still have food and clothing and are able to live comfortably. The goal here is not to be tempted, which ultimately leads to ruin. The saying “money is the root of all evil” has its origins here, except there is much more meaning for us in context. It’s helpful at this point to know what contentment is not. Being content does not mean that we don’t strive or aim for something greater if we are trying to more and more please God in what He has told us to do. The 1 Timothy passage above would seem to fly in the face of our whole discussion on getting out of debt. However, there is more to take into account. First, our passage above talks about being content while warning against desiring to be rich. The key here is the love of money. If we are desiring to be free from debt in order to gather riches for ourselves, then we are straying into danger. It is entirely possible to desire freedom from debt and not be lovers of money. Second, in figuring out what Scriptures mean, we must also take other Scripture into account. After all, all Scripture is breathed out by God. So when Proverbs 22:7 tells us that “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender”, we can tell that this is not a desirable thing, and that getting out of debt can be likened to being free from a kind of slavery. This is pretty obviously a good thing, and it will benefit us to follow this wisdom. Striving toward this goal is a noble task. So ultimately, this passage warns us not to love money and desire riches. Our desire to be debt-free is not sinful, as long as our motives are righteous and we are not governed by a love of money. Most of us in America have the things we need to live comfortably, even if we are in debt. This is a good thing for which we should praise God, and it is also a good thing to strive for further Biblical wisdom in becoming free from debt slavery.