Many people still misinterpret the section of St Paul’s letter to Timothy where he stated that “the LOVE of money is the ROOT of all evil” (Emphasis mine), (1Tim 6:10). The two basic words which in most cases are neglected are “Love” and “Root.” While many interpret the statement as meaning that money is evil, some others state that the love of money is evil. Both interpretations are erroneous. Apostle Paul clearly stated that if you are obsessed with the love of money, you are likely going to be a victim of evil. And this has shown to be true in our society today.
One would therefore ask: how can one love money? Money is created by man as a medium of exchange for goods and services. It is also acquired to provide the basic needs of life; food, shelter and clothing. In addition, it also provides education, healthcare, sanitation etc. So money cannot be said to be the root of evil as sung by the Umu Obiligbo musicians. However, the love of money can lead to evil.
The love of money includes worship of it (idolatry). The victims of this usually say, “If you no get money, hide your face.” They worship money more than God. They feel that life is worthless without money. They think that money provides everything and that once you are rich, your problem is exhausted. They praise and worship those who have excess money. They pray to God to be like them.
Those who worship money can do anything to acquire it. They can enslave themselves. They engage in all manner of rituals to get it. They can sell their bodies and do all manner of evil to have money. This is based on the mere assumption that if you have money, you have everything. But this is not true. Those who worship money as their god go through the same process that leads to evil.
The book of Proverbs says that dishonest money dwindles away (Prov. 13:11). When these people acquire money this way, they initially use it not only to provide the basic things of life but also to acquire their needs in excess. They build many houses they do not live in. They buy so many clothing they do not need and provide excess food that they would not eat. They acquire property that would lose value in a short time all over the place.
They f launt such wealth just to entice others; not to assist them. When they are not satisfied with these, they go ahead to acquire inordinate power and authoris the best example of such people. He did not acquire more than he needed. He clearly separated the love of money from the love of God. He referred to money as an earthly master and God as the heavenly master. You therefore cannot worship two of them at the same time (Matt 6:24).
He achieved a lot without depending on any earthly material and wealth. He had no house, no Carmel, no property. He was even buried in a borrowed tomb. He felt pity for the rich young ruler who could not choose God in place of money (Matt 19:16-30, Mk 10:17-31 and Lk 18:1830). Most of the saints who followed the way of Christ forfeited their wealth to the poor. They are exemplars in the church today. ity from all sectors of the society.
They use such power to exploit, oppress and dehumanize others. They create false impression that they are more human than others. This makes them feel that God has blessed them more than others. Many of them feel that acquiring money makes them more hard working than others. They think that money will cover their weaknesses. When these happen, those who aspire to worship money begin to seek mentorship from those who live such vain lives.
They see lack of money as a curse. They pray to God to grant them wealth without hard work. They seek faster and easier ways of acquiring wealth. In the process, many of them destroy their lives. Unfortunately, when they succeed in acquiring such wealth, they realize that it does not provide the desired comfort for them. Such wealth does not provide perpetual happiness, peace and security.
They discover that the wealthier they are, the more uncomfortable and insecure they become. In order to forcefully sustain this, they take to evil ways. This is why Christ said it is easier for a Carmel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. According to Him, the rich have no place in the kingdom of God (Lk 16:19-31). Those who travel light in life are happier than those who have excess luggage.
The great men and women in history never worshiped money. They used money as a tool for developing their society. They used the money they acquired to empower others and for wealth creation. Our Lord Jesus Christ In our country, Nigeria, most of our notable statesmen did not worship money neither did they acquire excessive wealth.
They lived simple lives and left behind more valuable and long lasting wealth. On the other hand, money and wealth have also destroyed a lot of notable men who were so much attached to them. Many clergymen, politicians and enterprising young people have lost their focus and career owing to excess love of money. The best way to conquer the world is to drastically reduce the love of money. Doing this will exterminate the root that supplies nutrient to evil in our society.
• Emma Anyagwa (eanyagwa@ gmail.com) is a Lagos-based Public Relations and Corporate Communications Consultant.