I believe you know the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) well. Through that parable, Christ narrates the story of a son who, after wasting his fortune, repents and returns home to a father that welcomes him with open arms. We’ve heard this story since we were children, and learned to compare the love of that father to the love of God. It’s a beautiful story with a happy ending, but I want to talk about its beginning.
“All I need right now is a hug and a billion dollars.”
As soon as he received his inheritance, our parable’s protagonist didn’t think twice about using it for trivial things. He lost himself in the world of lavishness and grasped only what money could purchase—fleeting joy that eventually led to desolate sorrow.
There are common phrases posted on social media that poke fun at how the lack of money interferes with happiness. Some examples are:
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop.”
“Money doesn’t buy happiness, so give me yours and be happy!”
“Sometimes all you need is a billion dollars.”
“I got 99 problems, and money could save at least 73 of them.”
God doesn’t condemn the rich, but I don’t image He’s very happy with those who place money first or as a basis for happiness.
We live under the supposition that a lack of money prevents us from being happier. We don’t exercise because we don’t have the money for a personal trainer. Our life isn’t as full because we can’t travel. If we had a personal chef or access to more expensive items, then we’d be able to adopt a healthier diet. Never mind that we have a plethora of exercises to choose from on YouTube or the ability to just go out for a run. We forget that traveling isn’t what will bring fullness to our lives, but our attitude then and now! We deceive ourselves with these lies and end up procrastinating health, joy, and fulfillment.
God grants us so many blessings. It must be heartbreaking to watch us put off joy and gratitude because we don’t have x amount of money or x possession. When we are unable to notice and appreciate the little things our Father provides us, it’s proof we aren’t ready to receive bigger blessings.
The true reason a lack of money robs our joy is that little by little we bet everything on wealth. We let money dominate us, and in its absence, we are unable to be happy.
I encourage you to start living! Start being happy! It’s as simple as making that decision. Allow yourself to be satisfied with the simple pleasures of life—a walk, a picnic, good company. If you allow your happiness to fluctuate along with your funds, it will only cause bitterness, complaining, and ungratefulness. None of these traits attract joy or prosperity. Find joy in the blessings God has bestowed in your life, however small or great. That way, when money does come into our lives, we will recognize it as an added blessing, and not the only one. Need help to perform this transition? Ask Him who is the source of all true happiness. He is more than willing to grant your request.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:12-13
Want to learn how to save to live instead of living to save? Then check out our series on personal finances by clicking here.