Money Can Buy Happiness

There’s a famous saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.”  There are many studies that show that having and spending lots of money does not increase happiness.  Michael Norton, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, disagrees with that statement, with a caveat.  He says that money can buy happiness IF you spend it right.

How do you spend it right?  By spending it on others.  He did experiments a few years back in which he gave small amounts of money to different groups of people.  Some were instructed to spend it on themselves and the rest were told they had to spend the money on someone else.  Regardless of whom they spent the money on or the amount of money they spent, all who used the money for someone else reported higher levels of happiness at the end of the experiment.

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I love it when scientists, or social scientists in this case, prove the Word of God.  In Acts 20:35, Paul told the Ephesians, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” is really another way of saying that you can achieve happiness by sharing your money with others.  And, of course, giving doesn’t only involve money.  You can be blessed by sharing your time, talents, and attention with others.  Not all of us have the financial resources to give away large amounts of money. But we all have something we can give.  And, as this study affirmed, even giving small amounts of money can bless someone and increase your level of happiness.

Further more, generosity brings blessings.  Proverbs 22:9 tells us “Whoever has a generous eye will be blessed,” and Proverbs 28:27 says, “He who gives to the poor will not lack.”

I would encourage you to look for opportunities each day to bless someone else with your money, time, or talent.  In this way, you will ensure that your days are blessed and filled with happiness.

 

God Rewards the Generous

God commands His people to show generosity to those in need, and He promises to bless and reward those who obey this command.  These rewards may be received while on Earth, and they will surely be reaped when we get to Heaven.  Jesus taught this principle during the Sermon on the Mount, saying “When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”  Matthew 6: 3, 4

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Later in the Sermon, Jesus encouraged His followers to store up treasures in Heaven.  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19 – 21

We lay up treasure in Heaven by using our earthly treasure to accomplish God’s purposes.  Randy Alcorn refers to this as ‘transferring wealth to heaven.’  He points out that we cannot take our wealth with us to Heaven when we die, but we can transfer our wealth to Heaven while we are living by using our wealth to show generosity to others.  God judges the work that we do has either have lasting value–gold and silver–or having earthly value–wood, hay, and stubble.  Works that do not have lasting value will be burned up like wood, hay, and stubble at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  When we follow God’s instructions to be generous, we are producing works that of silver and gold, which cannot be destroyed by fire.

The apostle Paul wrote, “ Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,  storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6: 17 – 19

Paul told the Ephesians to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”Acts 20:35

Being generous with those who the Lord puts on your heart to care for will result in blessings both on Earth and in Heaven.  I encourage you to ask the Lord with whom He desires you to show generosity to today and begin building your treasure in Heaven.