Is Money Evil?

Corey —  March 4, 2010 — 5 Comments

This article has been reprinted with permission from Gary Foreman of The Dollar Stretcher. You can find the original article here: Is Money Evil?

       Is it virtuous to be poor? Many people think so. Holiness is partly accomplished, in many religions, by turning your back on material things. To appreciate the spiritual, you need to give up the material, and many people have taken vows of poverty in pursuit of holiness.

       I don’t think it’s that simple. Money is just a tool. In other words, it’s just a way that we have of exchanging things. Money has no value on its own. What makes money good or bad is what people do with it. The problem is with the way money is used and not the money itself.

       ”For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,” found in 1 Timothy 6:10, is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. When you place your affection on money, you become vulnerable to troubles. The problem is not the mere fact that you have accumulated some wealth.

       So how can you maintain a right relationship to money? Is there a way to control money…instead of having money control you?

       First, we need to be careful not to fall in love with our money, or we will let money have too much influence in our lives. That also goes for the things that money can buy. We’re all aware that the things we care about tend to control us. The only way to avoid that control is to hold on to things loosely.

       Secondly, if you believe that money is bad, this thought process could sabotage your desire to build wealth. We’ll even push money away from us. Do you find it hard to do the things necessary to build a savings account or IRA? Always seem to pick the wrong investment? We can’t see our subconscious, but it can have a huge impact on us. Sometimes it even ruins our own plans.

       What do you think about money? Do you have a good relationship with it? Or is it time to reconsider what you believe?

________________

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who currently edits The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters.

Corey

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Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

5 responses to Is Money Evil?

  1. “Secondly, if you believe that money is bad, this thought process could sabotage your desire to build wealth.”

    Is the desire to build wealth from God?

    “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” 1 Tim 6:9

    In my opinion many believers in the financial services industry give lip service to this verse. They are blind to the power of Mammon and the deceitfulness of riches. The whole idea of amassing wealth so we can one day give more seems just as self serving.

    A faucet doesn’t store up water. Water flows from its source through a faucet to accomplish its objective. It seems to me that we should be giving as we’re receiving. Why store it up and amass “wealth” unless God has directed us for a season to store up a large amount of capital for investment in something that requires it? That doesn’t preclude saving for a rainy day or when your own capacity to work is diminished.

    But I do know, man’s tendency is to build bigger barns and trust in those. It’s real easy to say I trust God when my 401K is flush. Most “Christian” financial planners livelihood is based on managing amassed wealth so they’ve got a bit of a conflict there.

    I respect your approach here Paul. You practice what you preach.
    .-= Kevin´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  2. Money is an inanimate object without a soul and therefore incapable of being evil. It is our AFFECTION towards money that gets us in trouble.

    Money is a tool that can be used to advance the Kingdom of God, help the sick, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry etc.

    That same money can be squandered, hoarded, coveted, and/or spent on things that would not bring God glory.

    We shouldn’t have a relationship with money anymore than I have a relationship with my car. It is a tool that gets me where I want to go. I take care of it so it will last. But the relationship is with God! :)

  3. @Kevin: Thank you for taking the time to comment, Kevin. I think you know this is a guest post, but I want to emphasize that again in the comments. Like you, I didn’t really agree with that part. Anyone who takes a couple minutes to read what I’ve written will realize that. (And I know you do from your last comment.) While I don’t agree with how that part was written, the idea is on the right track. How we think about money can definitely affect us – even making us less effective for God’s work.

    I also strongly agree with you about Christian financial planners. There’s way too much emphasis put on building wealth. Sure, you can say you’ll plan to give it away and maybe that will happen. But that takes very little faith. Why would we need to amass wealth in the first place? Why would we need to save anything beyond our needs? Greed pushes us in that direction – not God.

    My personal plan is to save just enough to meet my needs for a simple retirement while allowing me to still serve God during that time. This is part of the reason I’ve been working on creating an accurate retirement calculator. I don’t want to save too much! My plan for now is to live simply, save what is needed, and give as much as possible away. Note to self – I should write more about those ideas. ;)

    But as a financial planner, I also can’t push my views onto others – even clients who are Christians. Through my writing, teaching, and example, perhaps I can lead them into a deeper discussion about retirement planning and other financial decisions. My hope is that my Christian clients will want to talk about God’s desire rather than just their own. And I hope to help show non-Christians that there’s more to life than an early, luxurious retirement. We’ll see where God leads me on these things.

    @Lakita: Thanks for your comment! You did a very good job summarizing my own views. You’re especially right about the relationship part. A right relationship with God will lead us to handle our money in a way that honors Him.

  4. “Secondly, if you believe that money is bad, this thought process could sabotage your desire to build wealth.”
    You nailed it. If we feel bad about having money we will never keep it. Jesus was pretty happy with the guys who doubled their money. He was not too pleased with the guy who stuck it in a hole.
    .-= Daddy Paul´s last blog ..How much company stock should you keep in your 401K? =-.

  5. Thanks for leaving a comment, Daddy Paul! I think it’s important to remember that the parable of the talents is not just about money. That parable can be misapplied to encourage the pursuit of wealth when that’s hardly the point Jesus was making.

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