Bible Insights

We Must Avoid the Love of Money

How We View and Handle Money Matters to God and to Us

Paul writes to his protégé Timothy, warning him that the love of money is the source of all manner of evil.

An unhealthy preoccupation with wealth is especially risky for followers of Jesus, for their pursuit of money can distract them from their faith and pile on all kinds of grief (1 Timothy 6:10).

Keep in mind that Paul is not condemning money. Paul warns against the love of money.

For anyone who has money, this serves as a solemn warning to make sure we have a God-honoring understanding of money and what its purpose is.

Accumulating wealth as if it’s a scorecard of success is a fruitless pursuit with an insatiable appetite.

Money is not the end but the means to the end. Money shouldn’t be our aim. Instead we should focus on how we use the money we have, the money God blesses us with.

When it comes to the pursuit of money—our love of money—we risk having it pull us away from God. Consider these proper uses of money.

Use Money to Take Care of Our Needs

First, we need money to take care of ourselves. (Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:10.) We must focus on what we need, not what we want.

While our wants may never be satisfied, we can meet our true needs. We need food, shelter, and clothing.

These are the essentials. Everything else is extra. In the strictest sense all else is a want. We must be careful to curb what we want and instead focus on using money to cover what we need.

Use Money to Help Others

Once we take care of our needs, we should consider the needs of others. What do they need?

How can we help them? Again, as with our own balancing of needs versus wants, we must guard against supplying someone with what they want, instead of focusing on what they truly need.

Yes, when we try to help others, sometimes they’ll take advantage of us. Then we aren’t being good stewards of the money God blesses us with. How do we guard against this?

We ask for God’s wisdom, and we follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. That’s the best we can do.

However, the only way to make sure our generosity is never exploited is to never give money to anyone, but that would dishonor God who wants us to help others, especially widows and orphans (James 1:27), as well as foreigners and the poor (Zechariah 7:10).

Use Money to Serve and Honor God

In addition to taking care of our needs and helping others who are in need, we should use money to help fund the things that matter to God. With the wise use of our money, we can serve God and honor him.

We must remember that we can’t serve two masters: God and money (Matthew 6:24). Our love of money will distract us from the love of God. May it never be.

However, just because I list God third, doesn’t mean it’s third in priority. It’s first. We should give to God first (Exodus 23:19) and then concern ourselves with our needs and helping others with theirs.

God wants our best, not what’s left over. This applies to our money and our actions.

Does this mean we need to give our money to the local church? Maybe, but it’s much more than that.

(Consider the posts: Who Says We Should Give 10% to the Local Church?, The Truth about Tithing, and Be Careful If You Tithe.)

Takeaway about the Love of Money

We need money to live, but we shouldn’t live for money. We should use money to supply our needs, help others, and serve God.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 4-6, and today’s post is on Timothy 6:10.]

Read more about this in Peter’s thought-provoking book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.