In the Forbes 23rd annual ranking of the 400 richest people in America, the combined net worth of the nation’s wealthies climbed to $1 trillion, up $45 billion in 12 months (msnbc.msn.com, September 24, 2004).
It’s hard to grasp just how much this is. A million dollars divided between a thousand people would give them $1000 each; a billion dollars would make them all millionaries, while a trillion would make them each a billionare.
Siventy-eight per cent of the people on this list are billionaires. For the 11th year, Microsoft’s chairman, Bill Gates topped the list with $48 billion.
Suprisingly according to the Matthew Herper, studies show that these 400 are no happier than the Masai herdsmen of East Africa, who own nothing (“Money Won’t Buy You Happiness”, Forbes.com, September 21, 2004). So if money doesn’t help, where do you find happiness?
The Bible says in trusting the Lord (see Proverbs 16:2, NLT).
All The Resources Of Heaven
1. What blessing is promised to those who have accepted Jesus as Saviour?
Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
2. Where, does Jesus say, should we place our “ treasure,” and why?
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus is not talking about material wealth, but about spiritual values. Words and deeds motivated by love for Jesus is laying up treasure in heaven.
3. If money has first place in our lives, can we serve God?
Matthew 6:24 “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
But having money isn’t in itself wrong. It’s whether we love that money more than God, and whether we use it selfishly.
God Will Provide
4. Why should we not worry about the material things of life?
Matthew 6:25-32 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …So do not worry…. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (vv 25, 31, 32).
5. What does Jesus say about tomorrow’s problems?
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus has given us no promise of help in bearing today the problems of tomorrow. He has said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9); but, like the manna given in the wilderness (see Exodus 16), His grace is given daily, for the day’s need. One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God.
Stanley Jones says, “Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow’s troubles.” (The Christ of the Mount, page 235).
6. What does Jesus say those who make sacrifices to follow Him would receive?
Mark 10:29-30 “[They will] receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.”
7. What does Jesus say is true greatness?
Mark 10:43 “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
Put God First
8. What did Jesus say should be first in our lives?
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Jesus isn’t saying we have nothing to do, but that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. Whatever we do, whether business or pleasure, we should “do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Put Yourself Last
Herper reports that there “is a very small correlation between wealth and happiness—accounting for about 1 per cent of the happiness reported by people answering surveys” (ibid).
Money doesn’t buy happiness. The goal of life is not happiness, but service—to God and others. Happiness is a by-product of what you do for others, not what you do for yourself!
Have a happy New Year!