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Is Money Evil?

Dec 10, 2020

It is startling to me as I have spent the last couple of years as an entrepreneur how our culture, the world, seems to demonize money and business. I will leave the question of whether business is evil for another day.

The Bible teaches that the desire for money is evil, literally the love of money. 

There are many who believe that CEO’s, business people, and sales folks are only driven by a love for money, by greed. It may be true, but we have little to base this assumption on. Greed is evil, I think we all can agree on that. Greed is putting the attainment of money or power above all else, it is by definition selfish. 

Money is not selfish, it is without feeling. The truth is, EVERYONE wants more of it. That is what creates this dilemma for many. If we believe that money is evil, then wanting more of it in some way connects us to evil. We have a poor view of money. Our culture, the media and certainly movies and television convince us that there is this limited pot of money, and when some folks take big chunks of it, the rest of the world is missing out. They create this false dichotomy that if some have, some must not have. 

The idea taken to an extreme is socialism, ultimate equality, everyone gets the same amount, the same outcome.

We want equality, but the only fair equality is in opportunity.

Everyone has different gifts, talents, abilities and everyone applies those gifts and talents in their lives differently, creating different outcomes. We all deserve equal opportunity. The message is misconstrued and poor expectations are created when we expect equal outcomes. Our culture, movies, stories and even news present those with more money as bad. There is an interesting twist here, business people with more money are presented in a negative light, but entertainers and sports figures with more money are generally good. The truth is that business, commerce, is the only legitimate place for making more money and doing more good for other people, but we will discuss that more in the next post on whether or not business is evil.

What is money, really?

Daniel Lapin shares a definition from George Mason Professor of economics, Walter Williams, “Take out a dollar bill and look at it,” he said, “Now pat yourself on your back because you are looking at a certificate of performance. If you did not rob or steal from anyone to obtain that dollar, if you neither defrauded anyone nor persuaded your government to seize it from a fellow citizen and give it to you, then you could have only obtained that dollar in one other way -- you must have pleased someone else.” Daniel continues, “Having money is not shameful; it is a certificate of good performance granted to you by your fellow grateful citizens.” (Lapin, Daniel, “Thou Shall Prosper” pg 153)

Money is a certificate in exchange for work, valuable performance. As an employee, money is the reward for completing the tasks successfully for your employer. As a business owner, it is the reward for satisfying your customers, providing what they need.

Money certainly can be used for evil, but in and of itself, money is positive and in our current economy it should be seen as a reward for good work, for satisfying someone’s needs. Helping each other. There is no limitation to money and there is plenty for each of us to have an abundance without impacting anyone else’s ability to have as much as they desire.