Sunday, June 24, 2007

Money Can Buy You Happiness?

By Fook Meng, a lawyer practising in Melaka

According to an article in the August 2002 issue of Reader's Digest, money can buy you happiness. Economists at the University of Warwick have found that a simple injection of cash is all it takes to make you happy. However, to shift an average person from the bottom of the happiness scale to the top takes a hefty USD 1.5 million, though even USD1,500 can perk you up temporarily. However, the researchers are keen to stress that money is not necessarily the easiest route to contentment. A happy marriage, for example, is the equivalent of USD 105,000.00 a year, good health is worth USD 300,000.00 a year, while the misery of unemployment cannot be alleviated for less than USD60,000.00.

Dr Tony Evans said that there are several tests to determine whether we are giving an unhealthy and unGodly focus on money:

1. Am I discontent with the blessings God had given in my life ?

2. Am I trying to buy the happiness, peace and tranquilty which only God can give ?

3. Am I hoarding money for myself and for self aggrandizement purposes ?

4. Am I failing to utilize my earthly resources for heavenly purposes ?

5. Do I see myself as the owner of the things in my life instead of being a steward of God's possessions ?

6. When there is a conflict between money and God, who wins ?

The Bible teaches us that there is no correlation between economics and a person's happiness. As a matter of fact, in the Bible, Jesus seems to suggest that people who are desperate, poor and oppressed have "God's preferential treatment". The lepers, the widows, the sick, the woman caught in adultery, the children, featured prominently in the gospel narratives.

James tells us that "God had chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom". ( James 2 v 5 ) Why ? Perhaps those who are rich and powerful and who have all the human connections will rarely sense the need for God. The characteristics which are precious to God, like holiness, humility, brokenness, compassion, are always more elusive to the rich and famous. On the other hand, the poor and really desperate, who have no hope in the riches of the world, are much more ready to turn to God for they have nothing to lose.

Are you feeling poor, not having enough of the world's riches ? Perhaps God had chosen you to be rich in faith.

I have a feeling that people who are at the top of the happiness scale are rich people... people who are rich in the faith and heirs of an eternal Kingdom. I want to belong to that category. And I don't need USD 1.5 million to get there.

Peace,
Fook Meng, GCF icommentary

1 comment:

Hao said...

WWJD bracelet - $5
Third Day CD - $40
Anniversary edition of Desiring God - $50

Godliness with contentment. Priceless.