Like me, I am sure most folks have heard the saying, "money is the root of all evil." Usually, the people who say it think they are quoting the Bible, and even though they may not believe the rest of the Word of God, they are sure "that part is right." However, as most of you know, the Scripture does not say that. It actually says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10). It is speaking of Christians who have sinned and when disciplined by their Father, are filled with sorrow (Heb. 12:3-13).
These folks remind me of those pictured in one of the Lord's parables, who were described as "thorny ground." In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-23), Jesus speaks of seed (the Gospel) being spread on four different types of soil. The first, that which fell on the pathway, was stolen away before it could spring to life (v. 4, 19). The second area was full of stones, and some of the seed produced living plants which could not survive the challenges of life, and so they did not reproduce (v. 5-6, 20-21). The third area on which the seeds fell was filled with weeds, and even though the seed produced life, it was prevented from reproducing (v. 7, 22). Of course, the seed that fell on the area prepared for it flourished, reproducing itself many times over (v. 8, 23).
While most commentators seem to believe only the "fourth type of soil" represents those who accept Jesus and are born-again, it is clear that new life begins among the stones and the thorns as well. Persecution silences many, and the things of this world distract many others. They have received the miraculous gift of spiritual life, but they remain babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1). We all know believers who are "married to their jobs," or who believe their responsibility is to provide as much luxury as possible for their family. They have accepted Christ as payment for their sin, but fail to realize that joy only comes to those who are being a Christian.
Money, in itself, is not evil. The Jews were to use it for their atonement prior to the coming of Christ (Ex. 30:12-16; Lev. 5:15-16). It was to be given as alms to the poor (Deut. 15:11; Lk. 11:41). It was used to pay tithes to God (Lev. 27:30-33). Money was used to pay taxes (Matt. 17:24-27; 22:17-21). Jesus used the woman's joy of finding a lost coin as a comparison to the joy in heaven over a soul that is saved (Lk. 15:8-10). Money was used to pay workers for their labor (Matt. 20:1-15). Our interest in money simply reveals where our heart is (Matt. 6:19-21); the amount of time we focus upon money reveals our priorities.
Working is the opposite of coveting, but it is not necessarily obedience; it depends upon our motive.