For the Love of Money
J. Paul Getty, oil tycoon, reportedly was asked the question regarding his wealth, “When will you have enough?” Getty replied, “When I get just a little bit more.”
Getty is not alone in this craving for more. At the other end of the money spectrum there are those whose desire for, or greed, is equal to that of Getty. The hunger and greed for wealth and power knows no limits as regards station, race or gender in mankind. When it comes to our plutocracy, the rule of the wealthy, there is never enough. When it comes to the poor, the same is true. There is no distinction in the heart of those who seek riches and power. There is never enough money nor power. In Getty, and in all who desire ‘just a little bit more,’ there is that insatiable thirst which can never be satisfied. It was George Mason, principle character in the fact of the Bill of Rights, who said, “From the nature of man, we may be sure that those who have power in their hands…will always, when they can….increase it.”
Man in his unregenerate state lives only on the horizontal plane of life. He does not have the discipline of those who live in the horizontal but are guided through the Word in that vertical relationship with God. It is not that the Christian is not tempted by either riches or power, they are. Thus, when the Apostle says, “The love of money is a root of all evils” he is declaring in a word the danger of living only on the horizontal plane. He is in fact echoing the truth of Scripture and the lesson born out in the history of the world.
Jesus warns of the danger of the earthly desire for riches when he says in the parable of the sowers (Matt. 13:22) that the Word of God is preached, but it is “anxiety of this world, and the deceit of riches” which stands in the way of those forewarned by the Gospel to respond and be saved. In the confrontation of the rich young man of Mark 10 with Christ, regarding eternal life, the young man was grieved when told that he must put Christ before the riches of the world. He was a man of great possessions. The love of money is here seen as the great evil which prevented this man from entertaining more than a passing interest in Christ and eternal life. Jesus said to those around Him, who heard the discussion, “How difficult it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” Here the love of money and what it brings to the status of those of this world eliminated this man from the promises given to the children of God. How very evil is that which keeps a man from fellowship with his Creator.
Paul points out the fact that the Jews, like the rich young man, also turned from Christ and His offer of restored fellowship with God through the door of faith, because of “the riches of the world.” Romans 11:12. Faith in money and or power constitute the great evil which is at the root of every evil. It is the evil motive behind Adam’s one act of disobedience. He was sure that the riches of this world offered more than fellowship with God. In the riches of this world Adam saw the desires of his heart being fulfilled. Nothing has changed in the hearts of men since.
There has never been a war, a conflict, whether of nations or of individuals, which did not involve the getting or taking of what belongs to another. History of our own nation is a classic example of the evil of the love of money. The Articles of Confederation were overthrown for one reason, the love of money through interstate commerce. Nationalization would solve this problem of unrestricted access to the wealth of the land and the people. The love of money is behind the present conflicts between the U.S. and foreign countries. The love of that which is of this world, what is called Mammon, is at the root of the conflicts of the world. Is it any wonder that those who are guided by heavens values stand squarely in the way and are thus hated by those who would gain the world and lose their own souls? Is it any wonder that they would have the temporal rather than the eternal?
The imperiality of the likes of our early leadership in this country, known as the ‘Federalists,’ – better, and more correctly, ‘Nationalists’ – in their drive to create an empire like that of England, ultimately brought us to that great evil of war between the North and South. It was a war in which young men of the North and the South died by the hundreds of thousands. Behind it all was the love of money. It was a rich man’s war and a young mans fight. The present conflicts of nations, our present corruption in America, has, as its root, the love of money and the power it brings to such. The power of the love of money exceeds on this earthly plane every power except the Sovereign power of God.
Those hungry for money and power are now denouncing nationalism as a hindrance to their globalism. It was not enough that sovereign states must lose their power to a National power, but now it is that national sovereignty must give way to a one world sovereign power. These same souls would, if they could, overthrow Him who sits on the throne in heaven and the sovereign rule of Christ. Read the second Psalm. But such will never be, for their end is revealed in the Revelation of Christ and His Sovereign power. John is shown the end of this love of money, which is a root of all evils. He sees the kings who lived in luxury weeping over Babylon, the city of the world. He hears those who mourn over her fall, saying, “Woe! Woe to that great city of Babylon, that strong city! For in one hour your judgment came.” He notes the weeping of merchants. They weep and mourn over the loss of every item of wealth offered by the world including the ‘slaves and souls of men’ and closes with these powerful words. “And the fruits of the lust of your souls have departed from you,…You will find them no more, not at all. The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, will stand far off because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning.” Revelation 18.
So take heart, Christian, for while the love of money is the root of all evils, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is clear that we can take nothing out, but having food and clothing we will be content.” I Timothy 6:6-7.
The Christian is now to “Charge the rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God; He offering to us richly all things to enjoy.” I Timothy 6:17.
Tell them all to trust in Christ, not in the riches of this world, for He alone offers the real, abundant life.