Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of the multi-site megachurch Life.Church, headquartered in Oklahoma, tackled in a recent sermon the concept that money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Groeschel, preaching on his series "Twisted: Most Misused Verses of the Bible," examined 1 Timothy 6:10, which reads, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
He asked, is money really the root of all evil? But the verse says, "love of money," and not just money, he pointed out and asked, so how do we discern if we love money or not?
He read Ecclesiastes 5:10, "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless."
The pastor explained that satisfaction with what you have is the key to know if you love money.
To understand 1 Timothy 6:10 better, Groeschel said, we need to look at the context.
So he read verses 6 and 7, which say, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."
The big theme here is not money, but godliness, the pastor argued, and also read verse 8: "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."
Food and clothes, and not also an iPhone or Netflix, he added, jokingly.
"The richest are not the ones who have the most, but those who need the least… Discontentment can make a rich person poor, and contentment can make a poor person rich," Groeschel said.
Explaining why love for money is dangerous, he read verse 9: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction."
We all know many people who chased money and went away from God, Groeschel said, and added, "Having money is not bad… Loving money is more dangerous than we can even get our minds around."
Jesus said we can't serve both God and money, as money can distract us from the real riches that God can give us.
There are two extreme views about money in churches in many countries, Groeschel said.
There is prosperity gospel, which suggests that if you're godly, have faith and give enough, "God has to make me rich." Then, there is poverty gospel, which proclaims that if you're really righteous and love Jesus, you'll be poor, that you won't have anything, he said.
Contrary to these two extremes, the pastor pointed out that Deuteronomy 8:18 states, "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…"
"God will not give you the ability to do something wrong," Groeschel stressed, and said if you have wealth, you can help a lot of people.
"We don't apologize for the blessings of God, we maximize the blessings of God… It's not a sin to have something, it's sin and dangerous to love money," he told the listeners.
The pastor then read 1 Timothy 6:17, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."
He said many in the United States have technology worth thousands of dollars in their pocket. He added that many have their own transport, and that puts them at the top nine percent of the wealthiest people of the world today.
"We are rich; we are blessed. We don't apologize for it; we maximize it… We didn't deserve this; we got born into it… Seriously, you could have been born somewhere else," he said.
You don't need more to be happy, he added, and read 1 Timothy 6:17 once again. "Those who are rich," as the verse mentions, is us.
Sometimes, we put our trust in money because "money promises what only God can provide," Groeschel said, elaborating that it promises happiness, security and significance. But when we think like that, we're deceived; we are under the influence of money, he said.
In conclusion, Groeschel said, "Money will not meet your deepest needs. Jesus will meet your deepest needs."
You will never ever have "enough" money, so desire more of Jesus, he added.
Sometimes, when we have more of Jesus, He gives more of everything else, and we realize that it is not just for us, but we need to bless others with our wealth. That's when we have the attitude that we have money, but we don't have to have it as we have riches in Jesus.
He also read 1 Timothy 6:18 to conclude the message, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."