Thursday, 20 May 2021 11:55

Money won't buy happiness

Written by  Farmer's Chaplain Colin Miller
Farmer's Chaplain Colin Miller Farmer's Chaplain Colin Miller

OPINION: Back in April of 2010, the NZ Herald carried the story of a British man, who they reported had died penniless.

Not only was he totally broke, unhappily, he died alone. He had family too, and for a short season, more 'friends' than most people will ever have. But sadly, it all unwound as fulfilment simply eluded him.

It wasn't the loss of a job, an adverse medical diagnosis, or a nasty prolonged death in the family that did it. No! It was winning a lottery that proved his ruin! He later said: "If I could crawl back on broken glass to where I was, I would. The lottery has ruined our lives."

Dying penniless is no surprise really, not for major lottery winners. Stats inform us around 70% of winners go broke within 3 - 5 years. So, no surprises there!

Dying alone is sad though, to my way of thinking anyway. I wonder, what happened to all his 'friends'? Truly shallow stuff indeed.

Another bloke, this time from the US, said: "I was much happier when I was broke." He had very quickly chewed his way through a tad over $16 million (US) from a big lottery win.

I have some interesting quotes on happiness. Here are a couple:

"As people spin faster and faster in the pursuit of merely personal happiness, they become exhausted in the futile effort of chasing themselves." - Andrew Delbanco.

"If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else." - Old Chinese proverb.

I have observed in my life's journey to date, that personal happiness is definitely desired and sought after by us humans. It's an intrinsic desire that lays in us. People try all kinds of options to somehow fill the void and grab a hold of it.

I have also observed that 'things' just won't cut it. Any happiness that comes from things is fleeting at best; it just doesn't last the distance.

King Solomon had it all... his annual income included 23 metric tons of gold! When it came to things he desired, whatever stuff he wanted, he went right ahead and got it. One could be forgiven for thinking surely he must have been supremely fulfilled - even deliriously happy! Sadly, in reflection he summed it all up with one word - meaningless.

I was in a nation in Asia a number of years ago with a pastor colleague of mine, doing missions work. I sent my friend out to have church at an orphanage one Sunday morning. The orphanage? Three adults and 35-40 children all living in one, very average-sized, two-storeyed house.

My friend got back later that afternoon to tell me, "They are the happiest bunch of kids I have ever been with in my life!"

It really affected him! I wonder what they had that Solomon couldn't find? Or out lottery winners I mentioned above?

The bottom line is true happiness is really an inside job. You can have mountains of stuff; the latest in flat screens in every room, the latest phone... two if you want, plus a car for every day of the week. However, if things are not right on the inside, happiness will elude you.

On the other hand, you can have next to nothing, but if all is well inside, you can enjoy authentic happiness every day.

When it comes to sorting out what's inside, no one can equal the good shepherd.

God Bless.

To contact Colin Miller, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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