Monday, February 8, 2010

On Money and Happiness

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We are such a privileged people. Seriously--who wouldn’t want to live in this century?  We have so much that previous generations never had. Think of airplanes, vehicles, computers, Rock Band, TV, radio, cell phones, natural gas, electricity, indoor toilets, mega grocery chains, and much, much more that we won't think of because it is commonplace to us. Never mind that some of this technology is only 20 or 30 years old. I sometimes wonder if all that hasn’t clouded our minds and kept us too busy thinking about things that have no lasting value. They are but temporary pleasures that mean nothing in the reality of eternity.

There are enough resources in this world for all of us to be comfortably wealthy...ALL of us. Yet, it’s all owned by a handful of families. That’s the reality of the world.  Therefore there’s always going to be violence, injustice and sin. There will always be someone bigger with more authority. Why? The more we have, the more we want. Our greed takes no rest. It is never enough and money is a way to get us where we want to go, and so it corrupts.  Yet we wilfully overlook the fact that money can sprout wings and fly, and suddenly.  Money is no guarantee of anything and it doesn’t guarantee happiness.  

The truth is, contentment is hard to find on any level. We’re not satisfied with money (ask the rich), we’re not satisfied without money (ask the poor). We’re not happy with the way things are run in our lives, in our economy, in our world. We try to usurp authority, whether it is in government, in church, in our homes. We have so much, and yet we’re not happy.

Why does happiness elude us? Solomon sums it up in verse 18-20 of chapter 5:
“Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot.
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

I found that last verse interesting too. How many of you know people that live in the past. All they do is relive their youth; their glory days. However, someone that God has given the ability to enjoy his days doesn’t dwell on the past. He is content with his life today. That certainly is a gift, whether rich or poor!

I came across this little video a while ago and it just tickled my funny bone. The embedding has been disabled, so you’ll have to follow this link if you’d like to see it. I really, really, really encourage you to check it out! Enjoy!

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2 comments:

  1. Carmen,
    It's good for me to read your post today. Part of me is struggling with wishing I could go back to the days I didn't have to work, when I could stay home and take care of this place etc. I need to live today today, and be grateful that I have a place to go to that God gave me. It is a huge adjustment but I'm trying.
    Hope your day is great!

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  2. "...God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." Solomon never fails to take things back to the heart! If we knew gladness and joy rather than happiness and earthly success, how our hearts would be overflowing with what God would have us living out--His Word, and through that, His purposes.

    We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do, we read in the New Testament. Our expectations should not fall outside of that. Yet, we can be overwhelmed as His grace falls upon us. That sounds like a life to live!!

    Loving Ecclesiastes! It speaks to this practical gal....

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