I've often pondered this. Why do we say the love of money is the root of all evil, when we need money for so many things in life?
Here are my thoughts:
We need money for life's basic necessities—shelter, food, healthcare, a good education, clothes. We need money to open new businesses, to lift our projects and life goals off the ground, to get married, and of course, to help others.
I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria. We had a comfortable home with most of life's necessities. Electricity was, however, never a constant. I grew used to almost daily power outages, and I quickly became accustomed to doing my homework and studying for exam after exam with the flickering light of a candle or kerosene lantern and fanning myself with a cardboard.
My parents were averse to buying a generator—they were worried about safety—so I just had to make the best of the candles and lanterns.
Running water was also not a daily guarantee. We often walked a half a mile or so to fetch water for our daily needs.
We did not have cable TV growing up, but we had TVs in every room and could enjoy the local stations.
I grew up in a loving and nurturing family, and my parents showered me with all I needed morally, intellectually, and socially. I excelled in primary and secondary school and went on to medical school at age 16 and graduated at age 22.
Of course, growing up I had friends who lived in the nicer neighborhoods on the “island.” Mansions, nicely manicured lawns and gardens, luxury cars, uniformed guards, massive generators that turned on as soon as the power outages struck. I would marvel at all that luxury whenever I visited them, wondering what it would feel like living there.
I attended the same school, though, as my friends who lived in the posh area of town. My parents did not skimp on the best education. They owned a home in London, England, also, and we enjoyed yearly summer vacations to London from when I was in primary school till I left Nigeria at age 23 to chase my own dreams in the UK. My friends on the “island” part of Lagos traveled a lot to other countries as well, and we often met up in London.
So I grew up with the best upbringing any child could wish for. I had just what I needed to grow, thrive, and be a productive citizen of the world, minus any extra luxuries. Excessive money was not needed to help fund my growth into an independent, forward-moving woman.
Through medical school, and meeting my spouse during residency in the UK, and then finishing my residency in the US, I started to dream of being wealthy. Dreaming of what my MD title could bring me—the luxurious life, maybe a couple of mansions, luxury cars, multiple practices. In my 20s and part of my 30s, this was a big chunk of my focus. As I started to earn the bucks as an MD, wow! It was time to dream big, work as hard as possible to live the dream! Dreaming and hoping to keeping up with the Joneses.
I am grateful to God and to myself that I quickly shifted from this thinking after a few years.
I realized the luxury cars and the dream of bigger homes and opening practices in every corner of the US was not my mission in life. With the shinier cars and the unrealistic dreams came more problems, more strife, more unrest in my soul, more yearning for life's real meaning.
Why? Because I was placing my whole focus on owning bigger and cooler things and not on what my true life purpose was. Money was not buying me happiness. Instead, it made my life more complex and confusing, and certainly made my family life more uncomfortable.
My soul started to shift. In my late 30s, I realized the love of money and things was not my life purpose. Finding peace, life's meaning, and influencing people positively started to take over my focus, and I was so glad.
I became happier as I lived in an apartment with my daughters, lived a simpler life, read a lot of books, embraced quiet and solitude, took good care of my body physically and my soul spiritually. I was saving a lot more every month. I cleared out all debt completely, my practice was growing exponentially, I was hiring new physicians and more support staff, I cut back on my clinical time, and I had more time to myself. I became much more productive in every area of my life. I had time and resources for lovely experiences like travel and exploring the world with my daughters, funding superior education for my daughters, and funding other opportunities that have come my way. With happiness and peace in my life came more clarity, and ways to become more productive became so effortless.
I was getting into my real flow of life—the effortless way of living. My focus shifted from money and things to discovering my real purpose in life, and here I am, still on my journey but loving the process, as I am now fully getting it, getting the reason I am here and realizing it does not start with the love of money and things—but it starts with reconnecting with yourself from inside and then…what you need will follow you and be attracted to you.
1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Are all your dreams still centered around getting richer, making the BIG bucks, buying the shiny things in life? Having bigger and better than your neighbors?
It may be time to rethink and shift your focus to what your true calling is, what your true life purpose is, to let go of the urgency to become rich, and I can assure you that you will be a lot happier and more fulfilled in life.
Yes, I do believe the love of money (not money itself but the love of it) and the urgency to be rich, acquire stuff, and keep up with the Joneses is the root of all evil.
Let go of materialism. Be permanently happy.