Our income has more than doubled since the 1950’s. Life expectancy has increased dramatically. Unlimited food at affordable prices has made overindulgence a problem not just for the well off but for the poor.
In the 1950’s most Americans lived in smaller houses, owned one car and few if any family members attended college. Today most American’s live in spacious houses, own at least two cars, send most children to college BUT we are not any happier. The percentage of Americans who describe themselves as “happy” has not changed since the 1950’s.
Far from feeling better about our lives many are feeling worse.
Such gloominess may seem strange in a country of ever higher living standards along with advances in medicine and technology. Why? There is much speculation. Some say Collapse Anxiety, a fear that all of the bounty we currently seem to enjoy will somehow come crashing down around us. Another reason is Abundance Denial. Surveys show that no matter how much most American’s make, we actually believe twice as much is required to “live.”
If, like many people, you aspire to a higher standard of living, you may think that when you achieve that promotion, the big house, the money or even improved health – you’ll finally be happy. Yet happiness rarely comes. That’s because real happiness is never contingent – or even directly related to – possessions or achievements.
If there was ever a doubt, modern American life proves that money cannot buy happiness.
The above is adapted from the book, The Progress Paradox by Greg Easterbrook.
I think the Bible says it best, “do not put your hope in wealth which is so uncertain, but in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” 1 Tim. 6:17
When our trust is in wealth instead of God:
- We will never be satisfied.
Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. Ecclesiastes 5:1
2. We will have more turmoil.
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
3. We will have a harder time giving.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:21
As Americans our wealth is a blessing from God, but it is also a huge spiritual challenge.
Jesus explains why some people don’t grow spiritually:
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. Matt 13:22-23
Are you happy? Can you give easily? Are you growing spiritually? Have you been deceived by wealth?
It’s surprising to me how easily I can think that more income and more things will bring happiness. I have been deceived in thinking they will. I want to put my trust in God who provides. How about you?
For more about the series, In God We Trust go to www.ridgefellowship.com
All verses are from the New International Version