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The root of all problems
- Jacob Ninan
Some people will quote 1Ti.6:10 to say that the love of money is the root of all problems. But if we look at that in a broader sense we can understand that while the love of money is indeed the root of many problems, it is not the root of all problems. The NASB says that it is "a root of all sorts of evil," and that is probably a more accurate translation of the phrase than the KJV which says, "the root of all evil."
When man lives according to his own way, pleasing himself and wanting to have his own way, he is acting according to his sinful nature which he was born with (Ps.51:5). He got this nature from Adam and Eve when they chose to have their own knowledge of good and evil instead of being entirely dependent on God. With this they made themselves independent from God, not realising that they lost their dependency on God too. No amount of training, imposition of laws, change of circumstances, etc., can stop man from being selfish and self-centred. Well-meaning but secular thinkers have imagined for centuries that what the people of this world need is more education, better living standards, better facilities, better health, etc., and done what they could to change society in this way. Even though some of them have made great impacts on the way society thinks about certain issues or brought about reforms on what society permits, man, in general, has remained selfish and self-centred. Sin is at the root of all the problems of this world, and nothing short of salvation can change man from being what he is.
That is why God sent His Son Jesus into the world, not to give people more commandments or instructions, but to die in our place so that we can get a new nature. It is only by acknowledging our sinful condition, repenting from the sins we have committed and believing in Jesus to save us from our sins (Mt.1:21) that we get to being born again (Jn.3:5). That is the only way we can get a new nature. There is no other way we can be saved (Jn.14:6;Ac.4:12).
Many missionaries have come to India from the West and started schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, etc., out of their concern for the people in need that came out of their love for Christ. They hoped that this would kindle a desire in people's hearts to become like the missionaries in their lives, and that this would lead many to Christ. The missionaries were shining like lights in the darkness of the world (Mt.5:16), hoping that their small lamps of light will show people the way to the Light of the world (Jn.8:12). While evangelists preached the Gospel directly to people, those who were involved in being 'lights' were trying to lead people to the Gospel. That is what gave their work eternal value. If the people they served came to Christ, that is what will count in eternity.
Making the world a better place to live in is good. But those who contribute towards the salvation of people touch the root of the matter and bring about a greater result.