The root of many evils
I Timothy 6:6-10 reminds us: "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 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. 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." Let that one sink in for just a moment. We probably have all heard someone misquote this passage from time to time, telling us that money is the root of all evil. It is not what it says, though. It says the 'love of money' is A ROOT of all kinds of evils - one root, not the root - and not all evil, but many kinds of evils that can enter into a person's life.
Taking this apart, Paul is really saying godly content is to be desired - to be satisfied and appreciative with the 'basics' of life - such as food and clothing. To desire more is not sinful, but to desire or crave more and more can lead us down a destructive path - one that allows the root of discontentment to take root. The desire for more can sometimes be senseless and lead us into harmful pathways. Take for example a desire to live outside of our budget - to make purchases that must be placed upon credit because we simply cannot afford them. Sometimes we need to put something on credit, such as a visit to an emergency room for much needed treatment. This is not what is meant here - but rather to buy that 75-inch TV on credit card when the 55-inch one we have is working just fine. We wanted 'better' or 'bigger' and that is something that can lead us down a destructive or harmful path.
If we read on in this same chapter, Paul tells us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. Why? These are the things that keep us from being caught up in the 'more and more' syndrome. We learn to seek first righteousness (things and activities that lead to right living) - then there will be great contentment with the things God brings into our lives. We pursue godliness and faith because they are a natural outcome when we are putting God first in our lives. We enjoy deeper aspects of God's love as we keep him first in our lives and this leads us into places of 'surety' of foundation - steadfastness in his ways. In turn, we begin to live in such a way that our actions are 'gentle' and 'kind'.
Paul wasn't telling us it is wrong to desire a new car - but to focus so intently on getting it at the cost of godliness and contentment may just open the door to greater evils in our lives. Satisfaction is not the result of being full - it is the result of learning how to curb our desires. The desire for 'more' is not wrong - as long as the 'more' we desire is more of God's character in our lives. Just sayin!