In order to understand Christ’s profound statement, we first must understand what money is. True, it’s a medium of exchange, but it also acts as a store of value. Whether paper or precious metal, money represents the value that an individual contributes to society. Except by instances of charity or government welfare, one cannot acquire $20 unless he first engages in some action or produces some good that warrants payment. For example
I believe I possess sufficient skills in lawn mowing and conclude 1 hour of my life spent mowing lawn is worth about $20. That is, whether I spend an hour mowing and earn $20, or stay at home, do nothing, and earn nothing, is an indifferent choice.
Neighbour X needs his lawn mowed.
I offer to trade 1 hour of my life mowing the neighbour's lawn in exchange for $20
Neighbour X agrees that getting his yard’s lawn mowed is worth $20
We trade—I mow the grass, and he pays me.
Thus, in an oversimplified sense, money is a physical display of a person’s value to society. The more money one has, the more he tends to contribute, and the more society values him. Look at Steve Jobs—he amassed billions of dollars because the iPhone is a technological marvel that people need and utilize every day. His contribution, evidence by an empiric majority, is invaluable, and so he was paid accordingly.
Now Jesus’ contention is not with money, but with humans’ nasty habit of think society’s value of a man is his actual objective value. In reality, a rich man is as cherished as the poor man in God’s eyes—look at the story of Lazarus the Beggar.
The problem is that, generally, when a man begins amassing a fortune, insinuated deep and immovable in his mind is a belief that money proves he’s valuable, or even invaluable. The more he earns, the more he thinks he’s worth.
So why is the love of money the root of all evil? Precisely because it’s the love of the world. But money is a temporal means of value, not an eternal one. If I make money my god, I set my sights on earthly things. By lusting after money, man attempts to discover value in his works, achievements, and society’s evaluation of his contribution. It’s the love of the flesh, the love of the superficial, the love of “me,” which is, by definition, sin.
As Christians, because Christ commands the opposite, because he commands us “not worry about our lives” and teaches “whoever wants to save their life will lose it,” we have no interest in loving money. We "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness;" that which money can never buy. But those who do, those who seek validation of value with money here on earth, will one day find out with knocking knees and trembling voices that in reality, at the end of the age, it’s worthless.
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