It is often said that money is the root of all evil. But money can do good things too, so how can it be all evil? If you actually turn to the Bible and do a little research, you’ll find that Jesus actually had a few things to say about it.
I have to admit, Jesus was a pretty smart guy. I’ve heard that expression and used it myself many times over the years but I never quite knew where it came from. Although it is often misquoted, the original expression was actually uttered by Jesus.
For the love of money is a root of all evil: and some whose hearts were fixed on it have been turned away from the faith, and been wounded with unnumbered sorrows. 1Timothy 6:10
This expression became even more clear to me today as I was driving to my son’s daycare. I was driving and we were philosophizing about things like we always do in the mornings. He’s three. He needs to work on those critical thinking skills. Our discussion was sparked by the front page of our newspaper, The News & Observer, which had a photo similar to the following.
We see these pictures and he wants to know what’s going on and what’s it all about. This is not something I want to sweep under the rug. I want him to understand actions and consequences. We talk all the time about police and good guys and bad guys and jail.
He understands that people do bad things and they go to jail (we’re trying to keep it simple). When he wants to know why people do bad things, I explain that it is usually about money. They rob a bank for money. They hurt a person for money. They steal something to sell it for money.
That’s when we started talking about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He knows there was an oil rig that exploded and that oil is spilling into the ocean. But that was where the story ended for him. So I continued the conversation at a 3 year old level.
We talked about how oil is used to make gasoline and how everyone needs gasoline. I talked about how gasoline is expensive and companies can make a lot of money selling gasoline. I talked about how this ONE company wanted to make a lot of money very quickly. So they didn’t set up the oil rig properly.
When the workers told their bosses that this wasn’t the right way to do it, they were told to go back to work or get fired. So they did it the quick and easy way and the oil rig exploded. Because the big guys wanted to make a lot of money and do it quickly.
We talked about how the oil is spilling into the ocean and he said, “but there are boats out there catching the oil, right, Mommy?” He happened to look over my shoulder as I was reading a new story and its accompanying video on how fisherman are frustrated at how BP is thwarting their efforts to rescue endangered sea turtles. He saw pictures of boats dragging a boom to corral the oil for a controlled burn. I didn’t let him know the reality of the article.
To help him understand, I asked him to imagine a cut that was bleeding a lot (he gets interested when I start talking about blood). I explained that I could keep wiping away the blood but the cut would keep bleeding unless I put a band-aid on it. I think he understood that where we are now is waiting for a band-aid to stop, if not help fix, this mess.
I’ve simplified the story. But when you simplify it and take out the extraneous details, the yacht races, the smarmy British comments, the emotions, it really comes down to a company that did bad things for the love of money.
So the money isn’t the problem. It’s the love of money. That is a root of all evil. Unfortunately, it’s been a lot of innocent people and creatures that have been wounded with unnumbered sorrows.