Love of Money
Love of money suggests: a long old age; hands powerless to work; hunger and disease yet to come; the bitterness of poverty; and the disgrace of receiving the necessities of life from others. (Evagrius of Pontus, the Praktikos)
Those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. I Timothy 6:9-10, NRSV
Money keeps away hunger and provides shelter. It puts shoes on our feet and a car in the driveway. It pays for education and health care. When shared, money can build libraries and hospitals, parks and museums. It is necessary for an abundant life, and a means to a better world.
Love of money is money misunderstood and misdirected. Instead of a means to abundance, it is a defense against some imagined future scarcity. Having enough to meet the needs for a blessed life is never sufficient; more and more must be tucked away for future use, more and more things bought to meet every possible need. It can’t be shared in any great amount – what if it’s needed later? No matter how much money there is, it’s never enough to keep at bay “the bitterness of poverty and the disgrace of receiving the necessities of life from others.” The hoarding never ends because the frightened soul can imagine any number of future disasters.
The truth: no amount of money can ward off all pain and disease. Every person will experience loss and grief. Death comes. It is the inevitable void, and it must be faced.
God doesn’t remove the void; God takes it up into an all-encompassing holiness – the truth revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Death isn’t the final reality: resurrection is. We fall through the void of death, landing in the arms of God.
Love of money is a root of evil because it promises to weave a carpet out of our funds and fears – a rug big enough to cover the infinite void that threatens to annihilate us. It’s a lie, of course, hiding two sure realities:
1 No matter how big the rug, the chasm is bigger.
2 No matter how big the chasm, resurrected life in God is bigger.