People often misquote St. Paul’s instructions to Timothy. They say, “Money is the root of all evil.” What Paul really said was, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10)
The financial mess we find ourselves in today can be traced to the love of money.
We see Ponzi schemes where the rich take advantage of the unsophisticated investors, brokers lending money to individuals who do not have the means to repay just so they can get their commission, and pyramid scams that take advantage of people who want to get rich quick.
We see merchants short-change customers, embezzlers, petty thieves, executives who fix their books, fraud, kickbacks, crooked mangers of widows’ investment portfolios, and business people who sell products they know to be harmful and sometimes even fatal.
Every time I turn on my computer, someone wants to give me millions of dollars I could share with others. The only thing I have to do is give them my bank account number and they will deposit the money.
I don’t have much money in my checking account but I don’t want anyone to steal the little I have.
Jesus once told a parable about a manager who was a lazy thief. He had mishandled his owner’s goods and was about to be fired. He thought he could get away with his crooked ways for the rest of his life but when the bottom fell out, he didn’t know what to do. He was not strong enough to do manual work and he was too ashamed to beg.
So he called some of his master debtors in and changed their promissory notes. He reduces their debts significantly so they would have to return the favor after he was booted out. They go along with the manager’s scheme so they share the guilt.
Let’s be clear. Jesus does not praise this guy for being a crook. What he is saying is that worldly people use all types of schemes to promote themselves in life. Why can’t we Christians use our gifts and talents to promote the kingdom of God?
People who put God first do not give their time, money and resources to promote the kingdom of God as worldly people do to make money.
Someone once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
Evil people hate the light because it reveals who they are. They hate goodness because it reveals their transgressions. They hate love because it reveals their laziness.
God wants us to be as shrewd as the children of darkness. The Holy One wants us to be trustworthy in small matters so we can be trustworthy in greater matter.
Jesus tells us we must be totally dedicated – we cannot serve God and money.
We all know what to do when a burglar sticks a gun in our sides and says, “Your money or your life.” Do we know what to do when God says, “Your money or your life?”
Many people dream about winning the lottery or hitting it big at a casino. Logan Smith put that notion to rest when he says, “To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave is like assuming we could drink all day and stay sober.”
Alexandre Dumas once said, “Do not value money for any more or any less than it is worth. Money can be a good servant, but a bad master.” Is money our servant or our master?
St. Paul tells us, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Let us use our money wisely to serve others’ needs.