One More Time: More Money Will NOT Make You Happier!

by Joe Plemon on October 28, 2011

We hear it over and over. We know deep inside that it is true. But we have trouble digesting it fully. What am I talking about?

The knowledge that happiness does not come from money.

Today’s biblical thoughts on finances may not say anything new to you, but they will hopefully reinforce what you already know. Senior citizen Paul, in writing to his young protégé Timothy, speaks with stark simplicity in these few verses. He spoke to me as well. Follow along as we read Paul’s words (italicized), followed by my comments.

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

What is wealth? More money? Of course not. Millions of dollars is simply millions of dollars. True wealth is a godly contentment: the knowledge that all is well – in this world and in the life to come. When you know why you were born, what your purpose is here on earth and where your eternal home will be, you have the greatest wealth any man (or woman) can possess. Clearly, no amount of money can provide such wealth.

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

Unfortunately, many continue to seek fulfillment through a strong financial portfolio. The problem is not the wealth itself; it is the wrong mindedness of seeking wealth. In these two verses, Paul tell us:

  • “Longing for riches is a trap that leads to destruction.”
  • “Those who love money are opening themselves up for all kinds of wickedness.”
  • “People who hunger after money stray from faith and end up being very unhappy people.”

Enough said? Seeking financial wealth is a recipe for disaster.

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11)

A meaningful life requires more than simply sidestepping pitfalls; one must follow a path which leads us toward true riches. Yes, we should avoid “these evil things”, but we should also seek a pure and godly life. Think about it: do you know anyone whose life can be described with the words “faith, love, perseverance and gentleness”? Do you believe such a person needs a huge bankroll in order to be happy? Of course not. He possesses riches which far transcend material wealth, and are not contingent upon his portfolio.

This is true wealth. It is also what I want in my life. How about you?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Jason Cabler (@DrCabler) October 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

Godly contentment definitely is the way to true happiness. There is nothing necessarily wrong with pursuing money as long as you don’t put that in front of pursuing God.

Money ain’t gonna save your soul!

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joeplemon October 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

@Dr. Cabler,
You said it better than I did — in a lot less words!

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Tony @ Investorz Blog October 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I partially disagree. When I’m rich enough (a couple of hundred million, billion dollars), I want to start a charity to help the poor in China. The happiness one gets from helping others is far greater than the happiness of earning wealth.

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joeplemon November 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

@Tony,
You inadvertently make my point. If “the happiness of helping others is far greater than the happiness of earning wealth”, why not do so now instead of waiting until you are “rich enough”? I would rather be happy my entire life than delay that happiness until whenever your definition of being wealthy occurs.

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