The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil

(Acts 19:23-41)

Too often we hear it said that money is the root of all evil, but this is not what the Bible tells us. When Paul wrote to Timothy it was quitter clear that he said in 1 Timothy 6:10 that it is “The love of money” that is the issue.

The love of money is the root of all evil
The love of money is the root of all evil

Money in and of itself is of no real consequence. It is neither a positive or a negative thing in the sight of God. But when man falls in love with money or the things that money can buy, he is open to different forms of evil.

It is the love of money that drives passions like greed, covetousness, idolatry and the like. The love of money is highly destructive to people and The Lord made many statements about the destructive nature of the love of money. In this section of Acts 19 we see how the love of money caused great confusion, disruption and rioting when a select few men distorted and twisted matters to gain their own advantage.

Demetrius the Silversmith

Paul had been preaching the gospel to the people of Ephesus and had successfully made an impact on the people such that many were turning away from their worship of the various pagan gods. In particular, Ephesus was a city that was a centre of the worship of the false goddess Artemis.

Demetrius was a silversmith and had become quite wealthy along with the other craftsmen of Ephesus through making sliver shrines to Artemis and presumably selling them to the people.

Now when Paul came along and people started turning away from Artemis, the craftsmen started losing money. No one wanted to buy their silver shrines any more and so they suffered the loss of income.

It was greed that drove Demetrius to do something about this and we see how cunning and crafty he was in the way he approached and attacked the issue in verses 24-27.

24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

Look at how cunning Demetrius is. In vs 25 he first appeals to the greed of the men telling them how they make their wealth from the silver shrines and other paraphernalia they made as objects of worship to Artemis. So his first appeal to the tradesmen is to their hip pocket.

But then he twists things around saying that through Paul's preaching their trade may come into disrepute, which was a complete fabrication and lie. Paul was not attacking the silversmith or any of the other trades. There were many other items made by them such as plates, cups, goblets, cutlery and so on. Their trades were quite safe. But in making this statement Demetrius appealed to the emotions and rage in the craftsmen. He was whipping them up into a frenzy. They would have had thoughts like, “How dare this Paul take away my livelihood!” But it was all a lie perpetrated by Demetrius.

Finally we see the appeal to their religion when he claimed that if this Paul were allowed to continue then their goddess Artemis may be thrown down and deposed. Shock! Horror!

Now was Demetrius really concerned about Artemis being thrown down? No way! He was only concerned about how much money he would lose if it were to happen. So he used the religious fervour of the craftsmen and the people to stir them up against Paul and to riot in the city.

And some of the people involved in the riot didn't even know what was going on. After stirring things up the mentality of the mob, fueled by powerful passions and emotions just took over.

It was a cunning and crafty process that Demetrius used to attempt to get his way. In the end reason took hold in the form of the town clerk who quieted the crowd, told them that they were in danger of rioting with severe consequences, and finally that if Demetrius and the tradesmen had a beef with Paul they were to take it up in the courts.

Warnings about The Love of Money

This example of Demetrius is just one way where we see the trouble caused by the love of money. The bible warns us about seeking wealth and putting any faith in riches of the world for they will lead people astray and take them away from the truth.

We see Paul warning Timothy about the love of money in 1 Timothy 6:6-11,

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

We are urged to be content with what we have and not to desire the riches of this world. The Lord has promised that His people will never suffer want for He will protect and provide for them.

But those who seek wealth, as we see above, are plunged into all manner of trouble and even walked away from God. In vs 11 Paul advises Timothy to “…flee these things.” He warns Timothy not to get entangled in seeking the gain and profit of this world, but instead to seek the gain from godliness which is contentment.

Jesus showed how difficult it would be for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He likened it to a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle, which is impossible for a man to achieve, but not for God. Why is it so hard? Because those who have wealth and the things that are purchased with wealth are often more concerned about those things than their salvation. It is a trap. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:24,

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

For those who seek money it becomes their master. They are not satisfied with what they have and want more and more and more. As Solomon pointed out in Ecclesiastes 5:10,

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Given all of the warnings about seeking wealth, and the above are just a few, we must seriously question the wisdom of those in the church today who promote the prosperity ministry and who say God wants you to be rich. Where are they getting this teaching from because the bible says the opposite. God will provide all your needs so you don't have to fear what may come, but He did not promise wealth.

Prosperity ministry is just plain wrong and those who are fooled by it put themselves in a risky place. When these ministers preach that money is a measure by which you can see how much God has blessed you, they are completely wrong. This is false teaching for there is no scriptural basis for such assertions. Sure there were wealthy people in the bible and there are wealthy Christians today. But that is not the focus of the gospel and nor is wealth a measuring stick for the blessings of God.

Be very careful not to be caught up in false teaching. Hold fast to the truth of the gospel and be led by God for He will provide everything you need and in the end, eternal life.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Konto Studenta)

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2 Replies to “The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil”

  1. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.”

    Nice point there, you can see that, the issue is mans love of money and not money.

    1. Hi Matt,
      Yes it is the love that is always the issue. Man serves what he loves and values, whether it is God, money or other things.
      Getting the balance right by making God priority one & then everything else is the great challenge, but which MUST be accomplished if we are to enter His kingdom.
      All the best & God bless,
      John

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