Earning, spending, saving up and investing money are all essential activities of modern human life. We earn to spend on things we need. We save up for unforeseen circumstances, such as losing a job, a health crisis in the family etc. And we invest in anticipation of future needs. All of this sounds pretty harmless. So it seems pretty over-the-board when the Bible describes money as the root of all evil. What does this even mean? Where, in the midst of these ordinary life activities mentioned above, does money turn from a necessity into poison ivy?
This is explained by a statement of Jesus, where he says that money can be an evil master. He means that money can cause pretty disastrous and destructive consequences when made the driving motivation of life. When we buy into the popular modern cultural belief that money can buy anything, including freedom, it ironically ends up enslaving us. In order to bring this realization home, we only need to look at the history of human life and experiences. It is replete with examples of how greed destroyed individuals, families, societies and even nations.
God, on the other hand, Jesus said, is a kind and good master and father, who can offer us true freedom to thrive and be our best selves. Under this kind master, money can be a useful tool that not only meets our needs but also becomes a channel of blessing to many around us. So what is money really? Is it good or evil? According to Jesus, it can be both – a good servant but a very evil master.