Ruth King, is a colleague of mine who specializes in helping heating and air conditioning companies increase profits. We are good friends, and I was one of her first clients in 1989. She writes a lot, I am on her email list, and I like to stay current on her writing. Recently, she posted an interesting article about money.
Ruth explains that a new client picked her up at the airport on her first visit. The new client began to talk about money, and he said to her, “you know, money is the root of all evil.” Her client’s statement got my attention so much that it compelled me to write this article in response to his belief.
Businesses exist for many reasons, and they survive and thrive by making money. The primary purpose of a company is to make a profit, and we measure profits by money. Is it safe to say that we all want profits, more money left over after expenses? I say yes to that.
The primary reason clients hire Ruth or me is to help them increase their profits, and if we don’t deliver results, they fire us. Is my life’s work a process of rooting people in evil? I say no to that.
The question “is money the root of all evil” is a spiritual question. So I must approach this from a spiritual perspective.
No money is not the root of all evil. Let’s look at “money is the root of all evil,” in its proper context, as Paul wrote about it in 1 Timothy 6.
1 Timothy 6:9-11
9 Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.…
It is not money that is the problem; it is the love of it and putting the pursuit of money first in your life. It is the craving, the quest, and the placement of priorities. Paul is talking about what a person should pursue.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be rich, I loved the weather, and I dreamed of becoming a meteorologist. My mother would drop me off at the National Weather Service office in Homewood, Alabama, in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon. I would read the old teletype machines, watch the satellite pictures print out of a strange-looking printer, and stood in front of another strange machine that printed radar images in black and white on canvas type paper. There was not one computer in this office because this was 1974.
I got to know the forecasters, and they were very eager to let me learn. I learned one very disappointing thing. I had incompatible goals. My heart’s desire to become a weatherman was not going to make me rich. So, I did what Paul said not to do. I gave up my passion of becoming a weatherman for my love for getting rich. This decision was a big mistake.
I studied finance and got a job in the bond business. At age twenty-two, I was in a fast-paced department at a bank where most of us made more than the bank’s CEO. I sat in front of television monitors all day with a phone in my ear under extreme pressure. By the end of the day, I felt like jumping out the 10th-floor window. On Thursdays after work, most of us went to a bar and drank until midnight. Friday’s nobody did much because we all felt so bad.
I felt trapped. I sat in that chair ten hours a day for forty-eight weeks a year. I became a heavy drinker to relieve the stress, and on many Monday mornings, I literally cried as I went out the door.
I remember one other time that I cried on the way to work. Fast forward sixteen years, and I own Hamrick Daviston Heating and Air. My son Andrew was standing on the front porch in diapers, and I reached down to kiss him bye. It was 6:00 am and still dark outside. After I hugged him, he looked at me and said, “bye daddy, I’ll see you in the morning.”
Paul said in 1st Timothy 6:10 some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
I know what it feels like to be pierced with sorrow. When Andrew said that, it was like a punch to my gut. I thought to myself, what in the world am I doing. Were the two airplanes, the BMW 540, and the 6000 square foot house worth it? I had built a business that supported forty families, was never home, and my priorities were just like Paul said. I had chased money and pierced myself with sorrow.
I did not listen to sound teaching when I was a young, prideful man. I wandered away from the truth. I thought, “I wish someone taught me these principles,” the truth is they did. I did not listen nor believe it. The money that I earned came with sorrow added to it. I had neglected God’s calling on my life. He did not call me to wear myself out, trying to get rich, but I did.
I will never forget that ride out of my subdivision the morning Andrew told me bye on the porch. I cried and made a decision. I repented. I decided that I would turn 180 degrees and go the other direction and pursue my calling – whatever that was- and let God provide. Nothing changed for me on the outside for a long time, but I believed it would.
It took me several years to sell my business and another ten years to get untangled from the previous twenty years of foolish desires that trapped me. It takes time to get away from the lousy seed we sow and time to reap from the good seed. We always reap what we plant, and there are consequences to every choice we make in life. I was determined to make some different choices.
Money is not evil, nor bad, nor good. It’s a means for the efficient exchange of value. We all need money to support ourselves, and we should all work to earn money to earn a living. Profits are a good thing, and I love to help companies make more profits. We should never feel shame about making money.
I worked with a leadership and management consultant named Manola Robison. Manola helped me through my transition, pursuing my calling. It was a painful process because I did not know what God called me to do. With Manola’s help and a lot of prayers. I got a glimpse, and over the last twenty years, God has given me more and more clarity, but it came with a price.
I had to trust God to provide. I had to believe that he was my source, and I had to stay faithful to the calling. I had to learn how to be content with what he provided. I turned downed lucrative invitations that were not in unity with God’s purpose for my life. He had work for me to do, and I needed to do it. Sometimes I had to wait patiently for the next gig, but I have never been in lack.
Rich is much more than money. A rich life is a life of peace and joy. God called me to be an encourager to others so they can be all the He intended for them to be. My job is to comfort, support, and encourage the people he brings me. Sometimes he brings me a whole lot of people, and with that comes a whole lot of money. Other times he gives me a break, and to be honest, I love the leaves because I get to ride my bike more, write more and take a lot of time off.
What’s the bottom line? God created you for a reason, and money is a function of a person living in their calling. God called each one of us to something different. Work in unity with God, and depend on Him to provide for you. As proverbs 10:22 says, It is the blessing of the Lord that makes a person rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.
If you are interested in exploring how to find your purpose in life, you are welcome to reach out to me by email or phone.
Roger [at] rogerdaviston.com