How much money does one need to be happy? According to a study from Princeton University, it’s $75,000 (US dollars) a year. The study claims that the lower a person’s annual income falls below that benchmark, the unhappier he or she will be.
At a recent trip to a rural district in Thailand, however, I saw a lady peddling snacks in a rowboat. She makes less than $200 US a month, but there’s a genuine glow in her smile. I suspect that at night she sleeps better than the executive on his Vividus mattress (the most expensive bed in the world!).
The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:6, “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” One commentary defines godliness this way: “Reverence for or devotion to God, producing a practical awareness of God in every aspect of life.”
A person devoted to God and not to the things of the world recognizes that material things are transitory. Just as we entered the world without any possessions, so we shall leave it. Material things are simply tools we should use to bring glory to God. So when we have the basic necessities of life, food, and clothing, we can and should be content (1 Timothy 6:8).
As Christians who live in a materialistic world, it takes deliberate effort to cultivate the attitude of contentment. One Bible commentator wrote, “If you are afraid that perhaps the love of money is getting a hold on your soul, start giving some of it away and see how you feel! If you feel really glad, then you are still safe; but if it almost breaks your heart, then it is time to get down on your knees and pray to be freed from this sin of covetousness! It is going to ruin you unless you are delivered from it.”
How do you view the relationship between wealth and happiness? How can one cultivate the attitude of contentment in a society that promotes consumerism?
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”