“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” –Hebrews 13:5.

When Moses was up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, the people were busy breaking the first two commandments. They broke the first by not worshiping God. They broke the second by worshiping a golden calf. One might think this is a primitive story; however, the Golden Calf is still worshiped. At the heart of the financial capital of the world stands the Raging Bull of Wall Street. The 7,000-pound bronze statue symbolizes the idol of money, which many accept as their personal savior.

The cult of money worship in NYC is deeply rooted in the culture. Unlike other colonies that were established by persecuted Christians seeking religious freedom, New York was founded by the Dutch East India Company – the first multinational corporation in the world and the first company to issue stocks. Manhattan has always drawn people who love money and find their purpose in the pursuit of obtaining as much of it as possible.

I want to make this clear: There is nothing innately wrong with money. Currency helps organize the world. The Bible often gets misquoted as saying that money is the root of all evil. What the verse actually says is that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). The love of money is the issue, not the money itself. You can be poor and love money; you can be wealthy and not love money. It is a matter of whether you find your identity in currency rather than in the Creator of all things.

Jesus Christ says you can either worship God or money; it cannot be both (Matthew 6:24). We must all make the choice of either loving money or using money to love others. A way we know that we find our identity in our net worth is our ability to be generous. Does our bank account say we are giving our money to those in need? Another way to know if we idolize money is how we treat the wealthy. If we are envious of those richer than we are, then, chances are, we worship money. On the flip side, if we think we are superior to people in poverty, then, chances are, the idol of money resides within our heart.