The Dangers of Loving Money

Scott LaPierreBy Scott LaPierre8 Minutes

Excerpt taken from Chapter 4 “The Dangers of Loving Money” from Your Finances God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to Making the Best Use of Your Money by Scott LaPierre


The Amoral Nature of Money

Because money is amoral, having more or less of it is not good or bad. The rich and poor are made in God’s image, and therefore they have equal value: “The rich and the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2).

Many of the greatest people in Scripture were wealthy. In the Old Testament, there were Abraham, Job, and Solomon. In the New Testament, there were Joseph of Arimathea, Lydia, and those who hosted church in their homes because they were wealthy enough to have homes that accommodated large groups.

You could look at this list of wealthy people and say, “They’re rich, but we don’t know that God wanted them to be rich. Maybe God wanted them to be poor, but they disobeyed Him!” The problem is we’re told God gave them riches, which we wouldn’t read if riches were immoral. Genesis 13:2 says, “[Abraham] was very rich livestock, in silver, and in gold.” In the Abrahamic Covenant in the previous chapter, God said, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing” (12:2). Part of the blessing was wealth. Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” Sometimes God blesses people with riches, and when He does, nothing negative accompanies it.

When Solomon replied that he wanted an understanding mind so he could better govern the people of Israel, God said, “Because…you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life…wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12 ESV). After Job’s suffering ended, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys” (Job 42:12). This is rich, whether in the ancient world or ours.

Solomon, Hannah, and David saw wealth coming from God: “Every man to whom God has given riches and wealth…a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires” (Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:2); “The Lord makes poor and makes rich” (1 Samuel 2:7); and “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all” (1 Chronicles 29:12). God also gives the ability to obtain riches: “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Would God do this if money was immoral?

Although, before you start thinking that being rich is good, or moral, consider that some of the greatest men in Scripture were also poor, including our Lord: “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). Jesus lived in such poverty during His earthly ministry He didn’t even have a bed. The apostles followed His example: “Peter said, ‘See, we have left all and followed You’” (Matthew 19:27).

Clearly, being rich or poor is not moral or immoral, righteous or sinful, because money is amoral. But what we do with money, and the way we feel toward it is moral. Let’s consider these two important truths in detail.

How We Spend Money Is Moral

Money, like other possessions, such as homes or vehicles, is a resource we can use honorably or dishonorably. Regardless of how much or little money we have, every cent we spend is moral or immoral.

We can spend money morally by caring for our families, blessing others, and giving to the church. We can spend money immorally if we buy something ungodly, support something sinful, or satisfy our covetousness.

James Moffatt said, “A man’s treatment of money is the most decisive test of his character—how he makes it and how he spends it.”³ We can tell what our priorities are by looking at our checkbook and calendar. They reveal what we do with two of our most valuable assets: our money and time. The way we spend these reveals much about our morality.

How We Feel About Money Is Moral

Our relationship with money, which is to say the way we feel about it, is also moral. Consider how many verses condemn loving money:

  • Luke 16:14 criticizes the Pharisees for being lovers of money.
  • First Timothy 3:3 says one of the qualifications for elders is they don’t love money.
  • Second Timothy 3:2 says one of the behaviors characterizing the wickedness of the last days will be love for money.
  • Hebrews 13:5 commands us to keep our lives free from the love of money.

Why so many verses warning against loving money? The answer is in 1 Timothy 6:9-10:

Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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 (ESV).

Let’s unpack these powerful verses over the rest of the chapter.

Order your copy of Your Finances God’s Way: A Biblical Guide to Making the Best Use of Your Money by Scott LaPierre