One of the most misquoted scriptures is 1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
The way that we hear it, though, is simply, "Money is the root of all evil." That sounds like a very different story!
As someone who grew up in the church, surrounded by those who misused this verse, I've been made to believe that money is sinful and it is wrong to want more of it. But is that what this verse is actually saying?
The word for "love of money" is philargyria, which means avarice: extreme greed for money and material gain. I read that as the love of money for money's sake. The love of money simply for your own gain.
And then, later in the verse, the word for "eager" is oregō: "to stretch one's self out in order to touch or to grasp something, to reach after or desire something" or "to give one's self up to the love of money." Interestingly, the word oregō is used two other times in the New Testament to describe healthy things to long for – aspiring to be an overseer in the church and longing for a heavenly country.
So we can see that longing and desire in itself are not wrong. But it very much depends on what your heart is longing for. Is it for power, comfort, or security from worldly things? Or is it for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?
Both can require money! So, money in itself is not evil. It is a neutral source. But the spiritual impact of this source depends on how you use it.
As I'm processing my own beliefs around money, here are five ways I'm training my brain not to feel guilty about desiring money:
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Romolo Tavani