For the love of money

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It is budget day in the UK and in advance of a General Election the energy around it is heightened.

If there was one single issue which has greatest axis value in discussions around justice it might well be money and its affiliated sources and resources and attendant power.  Many who set out to ‘do the right thing’ can be derailed by what Paul in his letter to Timothy describes as ‘the love of money’. Our legitimate needs for security and provision can grow into excessive and anxious amassing of wealth which surprise us by tapping into our need for the power and the status it can bring.

The Jubilee Centre has done some excellent work in tracing biblical examples of fair distribution of resources and seeking to apply these principles to modern life. In addition, a recent Radio 4 series on Debt very usefully explores the history, theology and functions of debt in the modern use of money.

I often wonder what situations Paul was thinking about when he warned Timothy that the ‘love of money is the root of all evil’ or, as he went on to say next in the same passage, that, ‘Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.’ (I Timothy 6:10). Paul would have understood the pressures of living under the shadow of Rome, where heavy taxation built roads which benefited the entrepreneurial merchants who scuttled down the new highways of opportunity and paid warriors (and their armourers and weapon-makers!) who patrolled the borders of the Empire. He no doubt also would have understood the temptations to abandon the ‘inefficiency’ of caring for the vulnerable or weak (weakness was anathema to the imperial mindset) and the ‘time-wasting’ and money that that involved. Yet, he saw incisively the threat that pursuing money as an end in itself posed to the integrity and wholeness of a faith community.

It is always sobering to consider how our national budgets reflect the values and priorities our politicians have for the economy and as we weigh these priorities it is worth reflecting on how we are using our resources as a tool to further the goals of caring for the sick and the vulnerable and providing for those who cannot provide for themselves as well as paving the way for sustainable economic development.

“For The Love Of Money”

Money, money, money, money, money [6x]
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y’all, do things
Do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things
Do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money
Dollar bills, yallFor the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can’t even walk the street
Because they never know
Who in the world they’re gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don’t care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money
A woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper
It carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money
All for the love of money
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you
For the love of money
Money can change people sometimes
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money fool you
Money can fool people sometimes
People, don’t let money, don’t let money change you
It will keep on changing, changing up your mind

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