Keeping Up With the Joneses

Written by Drew on August 17th, 2005

According to a new study, money can buy you happiness…sort of.

The study, presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting this week, shows that money is a factor in determining a person’s happiness, but it is relative wealth, not absolute wealth, that makes the difference. Of the 20,000 people surveyed, those who earned $20,000 more than their peer group were found to be roughly 10 percent more likely to be happy than those who made $20,000 less than their peer group. In other words, actual gross earnings are not as important as making more money than your peers.

Glenn Firebaugh, a co-author of the study, noted that keeping up with our peers puts wage-earners on an income “treadmill,” where no amount of money seems to be enough. So while some degree of happiness can be bought, true contentment must come from elsewhere.

King Solomon learned the hard way how futile a pursuit of happiness through riches can be (Ecc. 2:1-11). In the end it was “vanity and a striving after the wind.” Agur compares covetousness with the appetites of leeches, the grave, barren wombs, parched deserts, and unquenchable fire (Prov. 30:15-16). Greed has an insatiable appetite.

Happiness cannot be bought. On the contrary, no one is truly content until he resigns himself to the fact that money will never satisfy (Prov. 30:7-9; 1 Tim. 6:6-8). The human spirit craves more than earthly possessions–it needs spiritual wealth. Only Jesus can provide these riches (Eph. 1:3), and when we lay up treasures in heaven, we can be content no matter what the circumstances may be (Phil. 4:11-13).


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mackenzie says:

    We do have to realize that money does hold some meaning in our lives while here on earth. I think sometimes we kid ourselves thinking that we should never think of money as something that holds true value in our lives. Money does, and represents, many things to us. First of all, it is a representation of our hard work. We should receive a good feeling when we work hard and accomplish great things in our lives and are rewarded for it, not feel guilt. Also, it allows us to buy things that may make our lives a lot easier or more pleasurable. It’s true we should ultimately look beyond the scope of materialistic gain, but we must also remember that we have a responsiblility to ourselves and our families while we are here on earth. It is true only Jesus can provide spiritual wealth, and that is the ultimate gain, but we are experiencing more than the spiritual at this time, we also have a responsibility to the physical. Are spiritual bodies do no desire food or water, but our physical does. I think there is a fine line between letting the greed of money overtake you and handling your finances in a responsible way. Many strong, spiritual men are mentioned in the bible who were also a great success while here on earth. We can learn from that example.

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