important words that are before the above phrase and they are: “The love of…” This completely changes its context. Money in itself isn’t necessarily evil but if you love money it is. Jonathon Swift said: “A wise man has money in his head not in his heart.” Very profound and fits with what the bible teaches.
I’ve mentioned before there have been countless studies on the happiness of multi-million dollar lottery winners. What they found is that most of them were worse off than they were before they won. Relationships with a lot of friends and family members deteriorated because they couldn’t say yes to everyone asking for money. Professional scammers worked their way into the lottery winners lives and took them for a lot of money. Their new homes got broken into because people knew there was probably a lot of nice and new stuff in there. All of a sudden people started filing lawsuits against them for all kinds of bogus reasons hoping to get a quick out of court settlement (these are called nuisance suits). Many of the lottery winners move from where they lived into a nicer home only to realize that a lot of their lives were tied to where they lived not what they lived in; basically they lost
touch with people in their lives and became lonely. A lot of the people who were their friends stop contacting them because they are jealous and think the lottery winner is uppity. The bottom line is that what they thought would make them happy actually made their lives worse. Many of them have said it turned their lives so upside down they wish they’d never won.
So far everything is going against my argument so I’ll try and turn it around. There have been several studies (one global by the Gallop Organization), to compare the differences in people who spent money on themselves versus those who spent money on others. Their findings weren’t even close. People who were unselfish with their money increased their
happiness substantially over the selfish group.
So here’s the deal; money can great when used for the right reasons. Many lottery hopefuls dream of things they’ll buy and places they’ll see but these things will do little towards
making them happy. For thousands of years there has been a truth that has never gone away and that is:“It’s better to give than to receive.” You don’t have to be a millionaire either to experience joy through giving (a.k.a. random acts of kindness). Here are a few things I’ve done in the past that brought me great joy:
* I’ve secretly purchased meals for senior citizens I saw in restaurants. There was one time when I went back to a restaurant and found out from the owner that one of the people I bought a meal for did the same thing for someone else; kind of a pay it forward kind of
* Several times I have seen associates from my company in various restaurants and paid for the meals while I was checking out. Sometimes I got caught sometimes I didn’t, but it was always worth doing.
* I’ve left $20 dollars on the counter for convenience store clerks. They make such little money and in some cases their jobs are dangerous.
* I helped pay for a church van for a small church in Tennessee that had a lot of senior citizens in their congregation who needed transportation.
* I set up a small fund for a church where the money is used specifically to help the elderly stay in their homes. Men from the church use the money to buy supplies they need to help upkeep the senior citizens’ homes.
There are so many more things you could do with your time and money but you get the picture. I intentionally left out tithing because it’s not a random act; at least it shouldn’t be! Some of these things cost me very little money yet the joy I got from doing them was priceless. I try to do these things incognito but I’ve had a few people find out what I did and caught me in the parking lot to thank me. The look on their faces told me they couldn’t wait to do the same thing for someone else.
One time there was a gentleman sitting at a table by himself so I bought his meal. I told the waitress not to say anything but he made her tell him who it was. He came over to my table (I had a co-worker with me) and we talked for about 15 minutes. He was a Marine and a Korean War Veteran. He and his wife had been married over 50 years and she passed away the year before and the restaurant we were in was their favorite.
He told us it was the first time anyone had done anything like this for him and that he was so thankful. Once we were wrapping up our conversation we thanked him for his service. When he walked away from the table I looked at my co-worker and we both had tears welling up in our eyes. I promise you that we got more out of the $10 I spent on his lunch than he did.
I hope you’ll agree with me that although
money has its evil aspects it can also be used for a lot of good. With this in
mind, it can make both you and other people very happy if your money is used for
lifting other people’s spirits. I promise you that when you make others happy
you make yourself happy; best of all you’ll make God happy. Doesn’t it make you
feel great when you see one of your children do something nice for someone else?