“Money is the root of all evil” (often misquoted from the correct “For the love of money is the root of all evil” from 1 Timothy 6:10) sets up a bias in our thinking: the misconception that money is bad. There is nothing bad about money. In fact, money is good. Money is a means by which we can give to the poor.
Think where we would be without people of wealth. Our city’s Lilly Endowment has supported hundreds of thousands of people through its generous giving. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (with Warren Buffett’s major gift) is unprecedented in its philanthropy. The Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio inform, entertain and educate us through the simple flip of a switch.
People of wealth have been supporting others since the beginning of time. Are you a person of wealth? You may not be, but I am confident you are rich. If someone taught you to read, enabling you to comprehend this message, you are rich. If you have enough compassion to understand the plight of the poor, you are rich. If you have sufficient energy to do something for the needy (serve at a food pantry, paint a house, visit a lonely neighbor), you are rich. If your mental capacity enables you to solve problems and think through situations to good ends, you are rich.
One need not be wealthy to be rich. You don’t have to have the resources of Bill and Melinda Gates to make a big difference in our world. Wealthy people and rich people can solve the difficulties that plague us — and give us a sense of purpose — in these financial times when money, or the lack of it, does seem to be the root of all evil.
People of God know it is futile to “store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19). We have it on the best authority that what we have been given, we are expected to share. The wealthy among us are required to share their treasure. The rich among us are required to share their talent and time.
Save the love you have for your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends and neighbors. Don’t waste time or energy loving your money. If you share who you are and what you have with others, you will find that loving others is the root of all happiness.
Sister Mary Luke Jones is a member of the St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove
Author:Sister Mary Luke Jones