By DANNY MINTON
“Money is the root of all evil.” We’ve all heard that statement over the years. Some of us have probably even used it from time to time. Some have heard that it’s wrong to be rich because “Money is the root of all evil.” The problem is that statement is nowhere in the Bible. It’s part of a message misused. Paul writes to Timothy that “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” Sometimes this is an honest mistake, while other times, it’s an attempt to manipulate what someone wants others to hear.
We live in a world where things are frequently taken out of context. This is especially true during an election year. We will see quotes from something someone said, without knowing the context of what was said, before, after, or for what reason. People find by stressing certain words or statements that people become easily manipulated.
Advertisers, causes, and viewpoints find that using celebrities helps to “sell” their products or ideas. For some unexplained reason, people tend to believe movie stars and professional athletes. They are seen as trustworthy sources of information, even though we don’t know them personally. We forget that they are more often than not paid to say what we hear.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sites are full of people’s opinions. There are quotes, statements, and comments taken out of context and never really checked. However, this does not keep people from believing just about anything written. It’s on the computer, so it must be true, right?
The world is full of voices telling us what to believe; voices tell us what we should buy; Voices yelling at us how we should respond. These are “Loud” voices, and the more we see what they want, the “Louder” they become in our ears. We pay attention to “Loud.” It’s like the old saying, “The squeaking wheel gets the oil.” Why? It’s because it’s the only one we hear. We pay no attention to the other three because they are quietly doing their job correctly.
Too often, the “Loud” voices of the world get the most attention. They get the most news coverage. They are the ones chosen to lead. They are the ones whose names are seen in the media or quoted online. But that does not mean they are the most important. That does not mean they are correct. It may just mean that they are “Loud!”
So, where does God fit into all this? Why isn’t he speaking up? Why isn’t he here helping us through all the chaos in the world today? The answer? He’s here. We’re just not listening to His voice. We’re too busy listening for another “Loud” voice to tell us what to do or believe. One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Elijah when he was disgusted with the world and went and found a cave in which to hide. God comes to him, and here is what happened.
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9-13 (NIV2011)
The solutions to life’s problems and the best way to turn is not always found in those who speak the loudest. Paying too much attention to the loudest can sometimes keep us from hearing the voices of reason and truth that are quietly speaking all around us. God was teaching Elijah and us, “I’m here; you’re just looking for answers in the wrong places.”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.