The love of money is the root of all evil — so what kind of warnings should be sounded to Christian entrepreneurs who have embarked to raise a lot of cash for a new business venture? It’s a really good question from a listener named William.
“Hello, Pastor John! First Timothy is really an exhortation against false teachers and problems in that church because of them. Knowing then that 1 Timothy 6 deals with false teachers, I’ve always had a hard time fully understanding verse 9 about ‘desiring to be rich.’ I’m an entrepreneur and business owner, and with my business, I want to fund myself and my team in order to do missions together. Therefore, I desire to raise a lot of money. Is this contradictory to the Bible? Is it in a context of greed or desiring money as ultimate? What does it mean to be rich, and to what level does this cover? Is there a godly way to pursue a lot of funding?”
Let’s start with the words of Jesus, and then make our way to the text he referred to — 1 Timothy 6.
Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
“The heart that loves money needs money to be content, so it’s not content in God. That kind of heart produces evil.”
Later, Jesus illustrated the dangers of this laying up treasures on earth by describing the fool whose business prospered so he kept building bigger and bigger barns to accumulate more and more profits that he was earning.
The man said this to himself: “Soul, you have ample goods” — way more than ample — “you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19).
God said, “Fool!” Boy, you don’t want to be called a fool by God. You can be called a fool by man, but you don’t want to be called a fool by God. “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you’ve prepared in all those barns, whose will they be?” (see Luke 12:20).