I really enjoyed reading this year’s report on the happiness of America. Of no surprise, the more often you worship, the happier you are. What was a bit surprising to me however, was the correlation between money and happiness, especially after hearing Sergey Brin, one of the world’s richest men, say this:
You always hear the phrase, money doesn’t buy you happiness. But I always in the back of my mind figured a lot of money will buy you a little bit of happiness. But it’s not really true.
This is something we’ve been talking about in small group lately…what is happiness, really? I think there is mass confusion over the term, and we in America have made it out to be something it’s not. In America, happiness is living the American dream, a big house, a new car, a six-figure salary and early retirement. When you ask someone who is living this lifestyle if they are happy, I suspect they would be more willing to agree simply because their circumstances equate to our general view of happiness. They think, “Hey if I’m not happy, who is?”. Regardless of the bitterness in their hearts or the discord in their homes, they think “this must be happiness”. Conversely, the poor family who is struggling to pay the bills and yet have a life of contentment and fulfillment are more likely to disagree when asked about happiness, simply because their circumstances do not fall in line with the common wisdom. They might think, “well, I’m pretty happy, but I sure don’t add up to much so there must be more”. And thus the myth persists that money can buy happiness.
If you ask me, true happiness and fulfillment is found in a intimate relationship with Jehovah, God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. Outside of him, all happiness is only temporary. Will it make me happy to move from my apartment to a house next month? Sure, it might satisfy a desire for a month or so. But if I can’t be happy in a small apartment, I can’t be happy in a mansion. If I can’t be happy in my Honda riceburner, a Toyota Supra wouldn’t change a thing.
“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.”