We are inundated with hype from every crevice of our lives to find ways to make more money. Ads on our media devices, the games we play, the TV, videos, movies and even the music we listen to often portray that money equals happiness. Or at least to be happy whiling away on a beach in Tahiti.
To be honest, I wanted that for myself and my family too!
"If we only had" was a subconscious mantra I had whispered in my mind since I've been on my own, because as a teen I was in the lap of upper middle-class luxury; of course I didn't know any better, but it was hard to see past the in-ground pool, a full bank account and getting my own car.
Life was good back then (at least financially) and every day since I've been striving to get back to that ideal life. But is that really the true happiness I was looking for, or was I looking through money-tinted glasses?
Did I really want to be a millionaire? Would having money falling out of my pockets bring me the contentment and happiness I want? My initial response is "YES!!" Why wouldn't I be happy? Everything would be paid off, we could finally go on a real vacation (we haven't been on one since our honeymoon seventeen years ago- camping doesn't count dear), and I could burn myself to a crisp on that beach in Tahiti.
Initially it would be fantastic- my husband could stop working. Debts would be over and done with. No mortgage; we could renovate and even buy a second house (or a third) for family members so they wouldn't have to pay rent anymore. I could get that gigantic fridge with the french doors, build a greenhouse, and even hire a cleaning lady so I'd never have to clean house again. Ahh...
But what would happen to our family after the shiny wore off? How would we spend our time? Would we get lazy and stop wanting to work on anything, including ministry? My husband probably wouldn't stop (he's a ministryaholic), but I probably would step back from life just to spend my days reading books (or playing computer games) and getting my feet rubbed by my new masseuse. Selfish, I know, but that's just the way I go when I don't have goals.
If I had to answer the question "Do you really want to be a millionaire?" my answer would still be yes (surprise!)- but with stipulations. Most of it would have to be used to improve the lives of others. And by most of it, I'm talking at least ninety percent. I just want enough left over to pay living expenses, afford a few luxuries like a second car, but not so much that I feel I can stop working or doing ministry. I want enough that we don't have to work for anyone else, but can fully focus on the gifts God gave us, so we can do great things in ministry. That's where my true joy lies.
It's good to want things. But when the wants are all taken care of, there's a lack of desire. I never want that to happen to us. So I'd rather do without the financial windfall if it will keep me from doing His will. Hoo boy, that was hard to say! My greedy little heart wants to hold onto every scrap of fundage we have, but I know better than to indulge. The second I do there will be no joy, no contentment, no happiness. True happiness is being able to help someone else in need, even if you can only do a little.
God doesn't give a rat's butt about how much we give, but that we give what we can fully and happily. That's why he praised the woman who gave her last coin versus the rich man who gave more, but begrudgingly. After all, who wants to accept a gift shoved at you from a grumpy person?
You don't need to be a millionaire to be happy. I just wish I took this to heart years ago- I'd have a lot less wrinkles.