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January 02, 2011


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I have often marveled at the happiness some people have, and they have next to nothing. I often project how I think people must feel given their circumstances,but you are right. Quite often, those with the least have the most joy. The exception to this rule from what i have seen is the people that do not have much and they blame the world for their circumstances.

I read an article on another blog once about a young couple that went and bought a huge home when their current home was owned free and clear. I just though "I wonder what their next house will be like, because I am guessing that soon enough, this will no longer suffice". I wonder why our needs grow and grow? Maybe as we have more, we are exposed to more, and we just feel envy? I don't know.

There are exceptions to every rule and we seem to be one of them.
My wife and I are wealthy and have everything we could possibly need but our happiness has grown with every year. We have been married for 54 years and this was the 61st. Christmas that we have spent together. Our greatest hope is that there will be many more to come. The raging fires of youth have burned down into the glowing embers of a long and happy retirement and every age brings both its benefits and its problems, but even when one or the other of you may be losing some former capabilities, with love, devotion, and cooperation between the two of you, all the daily tasks can still all be accomplished. I wonder how many couples can look back after so many years together and truthfully say that they have no regrets in the decisions they made and the way their life has unfolded. For us, happiness is just being together and now, free of the need of going to work, and with our three children grown up, moved away, and each in loving relationships, we're together nearly all the time.

(Author of Christ-Centered Contentment) Great thoughts "Everyday Tips". I'll throw my two cents at your last statement:

"I wonder why our needs grow and grow? Maybe as we have more, we are exposed to more, and we just feel envy? I don't know."

I think our desires will always outpace our accumulations. The default setting of humanity, if you will. It is a cycle that must be broken, not a hole that we have to purchase our way out of. I believe contentment has nothing to do with possessions (as mentioned above, but better explained in earlier portions of my book) and thus greater purchases and bigger houses never fix that insatiable appetite. It only pushes us further down the spiral. Somewhere in this process we have to step outside of the physical realm to find contentment. In a sense, a physical answer (adding more possessions) cannot solve a problem that is spiritual.

So, in prosperity we are often like rats in a wheel--possessing the ability and means to work more, make more money, leverage more ridiculously and hope that the next thing will satisfy our souls. In great poverty, this option really isn't available. They have to face reality and deal with the issues in their heart. From here, they much more frequently find contentment than their more prosperous counterparts.

Here I am a normal American—not rich, not poor—staring at heart wrenching poverty and thinking: “These people have something my life is missing.”

This is true insight. Money creates both opportunities and traps.

The Sunday articles are my favorites, FMF.


Old Limey - You are an exception. You define contentment and happiness apart from physical terms (material things). This, as you mentioned, isn't typical. Our natural setting seeks to find contentment in having stuff (however much or little we think will justify being truly content). Congrats on 54 years of marriage! (That in and of itself speaks volumes of you and your spouse's contentment!)

FMF: You're rich (by pretty much anyone's terms). Are you not content? Is it really hard to be content when you're rich?

I'm finding it hard to be content in poverty. I rely on God...I always do, no matter what, but sometimes I feel kinda bummed. Yes, God provides for me, but only by me leeching off of others (like my parents). This year, I made less than $5,000 for the entire year, and I worked hard to get it. Should I be content with this? Should I be content to continue to leech off the charity of my family and friends? It doesn't seem fair. I want to better myself (thus, I'm going back to college) and make GOOD money so I don't HAVE to leech off of others.

Why is this sinful thinking? Should the poor be content with being poor and not try to better themselves?

It seems like some of us interpret this post as: poor = happy, rich = unhappy.

That's not what is said here. All that's said is that, say, a bigger house, will not make you happier, even if we're wired to think it will.

Finally, Old Limey, you're not an exception, you prove this article right, because you acknowledge your happiness comes from other things than your possessions.

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