Summary: It is the worldly who are poor, and it is believers who are rich. Our treasure is in heaven, and we should set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2)

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Keys to Happiness

01/04/09 PM

Reading: Psalms 37:1-11

Text: Hebrews 13:5-6

I was flipping channels the other night and I happened upon one of the many cable news outlets which was conducting an interview of someone who had suffered some amount of financial loss in one of the recently publicized scandals from Wall Street. The interviewer at the time that I happened upon the scene was inquiring as to the state of happiness of the individual. Now I need to tell you that the person being interviewed was a person of some means, that is to say they have money, lots of money (the identity of the person is not really relevant.) And while they had been victimized and had suffered loss, they were by no means destitute. What struck me was they response to the question. As the interview was being conducted in an opulent living room of a Southern California mansion with the Pacific Ocean clearly visible through large bay windows, the person answered: “How can I possibly be happy in these circumstances?”

Now I don’t mean to belittle the situation, I am sorry that this person (and possibly the thousands of more) lost money of any amount but the answer touches on what I believe is a large problem for many, if not most, of us living in the US today and that is the tendency in our culture to equate happiness to riches (that is material things.) We seem to believe that in order to be happy we must have more – stuff. More money, larger house, newer car, or the latest electronic gadget is tied to our happiness quotient. The problem is that happiness from “things” is illusionary and is sure to leave us disappointed at best, and probably depressed and despondent.

The fact of the matter is that money can’t buy happiness. The American average standard of living is reported to be better than 90% of people in human history. (Car, indoor plumbing, separate bedroom for parents and children, enough food for the week.) But our culture insists that we must have more. Sometimes, perhaps most times, we still wish we had more.

The fact of the matter is that money doesn’t satisfy.

ILL: Ray Stedman calls it Destination Sickness: “The disease that hits you when you achieve all your dreams, when you accomplish all the goals that you think will give you fulfillment – and then find that you are not happy.”

In 2004 about a third of Americans reported being "very happy," the same share as in 1957, when Americans were only half as wealthy. Americans are also some of the most overworked people in the industrial world, putting in the equivalent of nine more weeks on the job each year than the average European.

We work and work and work to establish a career or build a house or raise a family – and then find that what we thought would make us happy does nothing of the kind.

It shouldn’t surprise us:

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NASB) He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

And with this thought, the realization that we will not and cannot be satisfied by riches or material possessions, let’s examine our scripture for this lesson and discover some keys to happiness:

Hebrews 13:5 - 6 (NASB) Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”

I.Free From The Love of Money

A.This is the first key to happiness

1.This was also addressed by Jesus

Luke 16:13 (NASB) “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” ( and Matthew 6:24)

2.…and Paul

1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

3.“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed,” Jesus warned, “for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

4.The scriptures provide numerous examples of the folly of greed.

a.Achan’s love of wealth cost Israel a defeat at Ai, the lives of at least thirty-six of his fellow countrymen, his own life, and the lives of his family and flocks (Joshua 7:1, 5, 25).

b.After Naaman was cleansed of leprosy, following Elisha’s instruction to wash seven times in the Jordan, the prophet refused any payment. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, later ran back to Naaman and deceived him in order to profit from the grateful Captain. After lying again, Gehazi was cursed by Elisha with Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5:15-27). His greed led to deceit, lying, and leprosy.

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