“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” - 1 Timothy 6:10
Have you ever heard the expression, “Money talks”? Its roots go back over 2,400 years ago to the Greek playwright and poet Euripedes. He spoke of the power money has to influence and sway people. Money can talk people into changing their opinions. And money can convince people to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. Think about criminal defense attorneys. Think about abortionists. Think about politicians. Make no mistake about it: Money talks.
Now, first of all, remember: 1 Timothy 6:10 teaches that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Contrary to popular belief, the Bible doesn’t say that money is evil. Riches are not evil. Riches are neutral. They can be used for good, or they can be used for evil. What the Bible teaches us is that the LOVE of money is evil. As a wise man once said, “It is good to have money in your hand as long as you don’t have money in your heart.”
But as these rich guys in James’ time lived for the almighty dollar, they committed four sins that would result in God’s judgment:
Sin #1: They hoarded their wealth (v. 3). Yes, hoarding is a sin. Here on earth we are managers, not owners, of the stuff that’s in our possession. It all belongs to God. And the real owner of all our stuff commands us to hold it with a very loose grip. He commands us to use what we have in our possession for the good of others and the glory of God. If we keep accumulating stuff and hold tightly to all our stuff, our hearts will be all wrapped up in that stuff. And that’s idol worship. Our hearts are supposed to be all wrapped up in God. Further, hoarding deprives others of their needs. The rich landowners James was condemning were hoarding food that could have fed the poor, clothing that could have clothed the poor, and gold that could have been used to care for the poor.
Sin #2: They defrauded their workers (v. 4). The rich landowners had ripped off their poor workers. They promised to pay them a certain wage, but after the workers did their work, the landowners didn’t pay them. God gives us this command in Romans 13:8: “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another.” This verse doesn’t just apply to borrowers who need to pay back a loan. It also applies to employers who need to pay their employees and suppliers what they owe them. So, if you’ve borrowed money from someone, pay him back. If you’ve borrowed a tool from someone, give it back. And when you make a commitment to pay people for their services, pay them what you owe them.
Sin #3: They lived lives of selfish excess while people around them starved (v. 5). It’s clear from verse 5 that the rich people James condemned were hedonists who lived “in luxury self-indulgence.” They lived for not just for pleasure, but for extravagant pleasure. And all the while, they turned a blind eye to those around them who would have been blessed with even the scraps from their table. It’s not a sin to be rich and to have nice things. But it IS a sin to have more than you need while turning a blind eye to your neighbor who God has called you to help
Sin #4: They had condemned and ruined the lives of innocent men (v. 6). The rich landowners, in most cases, had not pulled the trigger that ended someone’s life. The word translated as “condemned” is a legal term. James is indicating that the landowners had a nasty habit of dragging innocent people into court and doing whatever it took, no matter how crooked it was, to see them condemned and out of the picture.
Never forget: One day our lives on earth will end. We will stand before Almighty God and be judged for the lives that we lived. James asks us to look ahead—because for some of us, there will be Hell to pay if we don’t start making some big changes in our lives right now. In 1 Cor. 3:10-15, Paul teaches us that on Judgment Day, our life’s work will be fed through the flames of testing. If our work has been shallow and self-serving, it will be like wood, hay or straw in the fire: It will be burned up. But if our work has been done for the good of others and for the glory of Jesus Christ, it will be like gold or silver or precious stones. It will pass through the flames of testing—no problem. And it will be transformed into precious eternal treasure in heaven.
I would make the case that on Judgment Day, your money and possessions will also be fed through the flames of testing, resulting in heavenly reward …or lack thereof. And as your material stuff is fed through the flames, I believe it will speak. Your money will talk. Your car and your house will talk. Your electronic devices, your tools and toys and investments will ALL talk. And when they talk, what will they say about you?
Will they say that you selfishly hoarded them, and therefore deserve to be punished? Or will they say that you should be blessed with an eternal reward because you used them for the good of others and the glory of God? When your stuff lets the cat out of the bag, what will it say about you?
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact
Christian Church. Please join us for our live outdoor worship service tomorrow
at 9 a.m. at
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