Turns out money actually can buy happiness.
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness wasn’t there the day I opened my Macbook Pro for the first time. They could not have been on my flight to Maui a few years back, and they have most certainly never watched the scene in Jerry Maguire where shirtless Cuba Gooding Jr. emphatically screams “Show me the money!” while dancing around his kitchen like a lunatic.
From what I can tell, cash is accepted wherever happiness is sold. Unfortunately, happiness, like money, is a limited resource. It’s circumstantial.
On any given day, an individual can start out in the best of moods and end in the worst, laughing one minute and crying the next.
Life doesn’t review your checking account balance before deciding to fall apart. It doesn’t consult your accountant or read through your five-year-plan. Trouble drives through the ghetto and the gated community, and when it shows up it doesn’t ask for your checkbook.
Sadly, you can’t buy your way out of a heartbreaking phone call at 2 a.m. You can’t pay for mental health or stability, and while money can definitely start a relationship, it can never sustain one. Just ask a Hollywood divorce lawyer.
Happiness, like the thin sheets of paper we exchange for goods and services, is fragile. And like money, it can disappear without warning.
For that reason, the pursuit of happiness through wealth is a foolish endeavor. It is much wiser to pursue something that money cannot buy, and therefore the lack of money can never take away. Something like joy.
Among other things, joy is an unshakable hope, a recession proof unlimited resource that thrives regardless of circumstance.
I believe this joy is available to all, but only fully experienced in relationship with God, our true hope.
Jesus had a great deal to say about money in the New Testament, none of which included, “Give it all to me,” or “It’s evil and you shouldn’t have any.” Not at all. Most of his talks on the subject came from a place of warning and concern.
He realized our tendency to lift money to the throne of highest importance, which is problematic because there is only room for one in that position, namely God. This is why Jesus rightly said, “You can’t serve both God and money.” You have to decide between the two. Unfortunately, many choose the latter. But only one Savior can hold to the promise to never leave you or forsake you.
Perhaps this is why financially successful men and women who once peered out of their office windows with a sense of fulfillment found that the only option was to throw themselves from the same windows when the stock market crashed or the pink slips found their desks.
This is what can happen when something given for our enjoyment and stewardship becomes ultimate.
Our hope is not stored in bank vaults or 401k’s, not in the temporal pleasures that money affords.
Beyond happiness, true joy is tethered to the eternal and rooted in God himself.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Photo Credit: donbuciak (Creative Commons)