“What’s new?” is how we greet one another. But flip the question and you get another one: “What’s old?” One thing old is 1 Timothy 6:10 from the Bible: “The love of money is the root of all evil….”
Most people repeat the passage without much examination. Notice it does not refer to money as such, but to the love of it. Second, it does not list the many engaging blossoms such a loathsome root can grow. Blossoms that tend to cloak naked avarice in swathes of good-sounding intentions. I mean really, how many times do the pols or players or stars come right out and say what they’re doing is rooted in their love for the money…?
How perfectly gauche.
There is an entire vocabulary in America devoted to finessing the avarice of a new venture or contract. “This has always been a dream of mine…” “This is an investment everyone can share in…” “This is what money is for…” “I humbly accept this promising to do my best….” Or in religious circles, large scale donations are hardly ever called money, but rather something like “To the greater glory of God…”
Old Timothy had it right. We are all born small and helpless, intuitively seeking to empower our lives. Money — what it can buy and do — is easily the most visible means to this end. Workers strike for it…. employers clutch it as theirs…banks and corporations spend enormous amounts of it to grab more of it than their rivals [which in a capitalist society is pretty much anyone not on the board of directors].
Oh its true, we do a great deal of talking about “you can’t take it with you.” And yet we live every day of our lives as if we could. But here again, no one wants to wear avarice naked on their sleeve, so we walk the talk but rarely the walk itself. Have any…? Well yes, many have. You know those peculiar exceptions to the Timothy Rule who have over the centuries renounced money and materialism. From Moses to Jesus, from Frances of Assisi to Thoreau to Bill Gates to my uncle Benny who just went home from work one day and never returned.
However, Timothy’s rule like most rules is best proved by considering its exceptions. Now if only there could be more of them!
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