Money, (the proliferation of it, the desire for it, and the possession of it) has gotten a bad rap over the centuries from a religious point of view. The verse from Scripture that is often quoted by religious types is that ‘money is the root of all evil.’ (I Timothy 1:6). The rest of the verse is often not quoted: “…in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” Anyone who has ‘chased money’ knows that it can completely consume one’s time – whether it’s working 80 hours a week, or selling dope on the streets. And, when our time is consumed by one pursuit, there is no time for other important things in our lives. We also find that when we are consumed by one thing (in this case the eagerness to obtain money) we find that there are consequences in other corners of our lives. Our family suffers because we are gone all the time. Our health suffers because we don’t get proper rest. Our mind suffers because we are afraid of losing the money we have worked so long and hard to gain. In this sense, money, along with a host of other things in life, can be the ‘root of evil.’ In other words, whatever consumes our attention will cause difficulty in some other area of our lives.
But, it is not accurate to conclude that money, therefore, is inherently bad. To counteract the bad rap money receives, it might be useful to think about what life would be without it. If there were no people working hard to obtain vast sums of wealth, there would be more problems in the world with little resources for solving them. While I may choose to live a simple life, on a simple income, I am unable to do many good things in the world that my heart may desire to do because I lack the money to do them. I am not able, for example, to provide money to help people in significant need, or develop educational events for under-served children, or support a young entrepreneur with a new idea. I also can become a liability to those I love, if I don’t have enough money to provide for myself and my needs especially as I age. And, this is another kind of ‘evil.’
When all is said and done, it is not money that is the root of all evil. It’s not even how we use our money that is the problem. The problem is when anything or anyone consumes us to such a degree that we forget where our very life came from, and to whom we shall return when that life is over. No matter what work, family, or passion gives us energy and enthusiasm for life, we are still creatures of a Source beyond ourselves and our greatest and most fulfilling peace in life will come when we stay centered in that truth.