Money and Happiness: More Money Greater Happiness?

Teaching happiness and learning to track it on a national scale are in fashion. Imagine; an industry is trying to teach us how to be happy! People are paying to join groups to learn to laugh and be happy. I wonder who will laugh last!

Many people strive to get money because they believe it is the key to happiness. They borrow and gamble to try to get what they want, only to find out their unhappy state remain. People ignore the fact that their actions to get money show dependence on banks and luck to change negative, addictive ingrained behavior.

Then again, some people get thousands or millions of dollars but discover their unhappy state increases because they worry how to spend wisely, this new wealth. The late American cartoonist, humorist, and journalist Kin Hubbard once said:

It is hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.
Research on money and happiness state consistently more money does not give happiness. Still, people chase money looking for Utopia, even at major costs to health and family relations.

Let’s be realistic

Money is a means of exchange–nothing else. Can you be happy with the means of exchange? The means is the process. The journey. Surely, you can be happy, but only if you acknowledge God’s journey as it is, and you go where it leads. Most of all, you must accept that you will not find lasting peace and happiness in possessions.

Do you remember your first toy, first bike, first car? You got major joy for a time, but later the novelty waned, and your reaction changed. Then you wanted something else, something different. God created us to be in a personal relationship with Him, not to long for belongings. Think about this: Do you believe we have a hole in our heart that God will fill when we surrender our lives to Him? I do. Filling this hole is the first step in the journey to lasting happiness.

In Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus presents a sermon on happiness called the beatitudes, which highlights the difference between God’s views of happiness and man’s views. The Greek word used for blessed in those verses, makarios means happy–happiness that is independent of circumstances. That’s why Jesus’ message contradicts the world’s view.

Jesus’ message starts with accepting our spiritual poverty–our need for Him. Then it builds progressively to the happiness we find when defending our faith in Him leads to persecution. Christians face persecution almost daily in North America. Governments try continually to prevent us from expressing our faith openly. Increasingly, many folks can read Bibles, attend Bible studies, and talk about biblical teachings only where government prescribes. Happily, while coping with this pervasive oppression, we can get the makarios happiness or blessedness from Jesus the Messiah, not on our own, from religions, denominations, family history, money, or stuff. That is why we need a relationship with Jesus.

When He is in us

We can walk with Him as our guide, confident we can do everything that He brings our way. We do not need to depend on or follow anything or anybody, only Jesus!

The crucial message to each of us is this: Stop striving to get stuff or to do tasks to make us happy; it doesn’t work. Rather, start investing time with Jesus. Then we will be able to rest in Him, worship Him unreservedly, become more productive in our jobs, and begin to apply our energies to do His priorities. True happiness is a deep state of contentment based on a secure personal relationship with Jesus. It is not a superficial feeling.

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About the Author: Duncan Barret