Summary: Money cannot buy happiness, but misusing it can buy gloom.

Spending and You: Theory


1. When a woman in my office became engaged, a colleague offered her some advice.

"The first ten years are the hardest."

"How long have you been married?" I asked.

"Ten years," she replied.

2. Well, it is true that the first ten years typically are the hardest; it is also true that disagreements and stresses causes by debt are among the top problems couples face.

3. The other day I received another piece of junk mail offering me free interest if I switch to a new credit card.

3. Why do some kids have to buy $150 sneakers

4. Average American household credit card debt in 2000: $7,654.

Turn to Romans 13:8

A man called the police and reported that all of his wife’s credit cards had been stolen. Then he added, "But don’t look too hard for the thief. He’s charging less than my wife ever did."

5. Supermarket: 30,000 items, 2.5 times the number in 1980.

6. Juliet Schor writes, "In their study of inner desires, Susan Fournier and Michael Guiry found that 61 percent of respondents always have something in mind that they look forward to buying. Twenty-seven percent said that they dream about things they do not own very often."

7. According to an article in U.S. News and World Report titled, "Happiness Explained" (Sept. 3, 2001), "Researchers confirm the adage that money can’t buy happiness. Beyond subsistence levels, income does not provide lasting joy. Neither does personal prestige or intelligence. Happiness is affected by innate personality traits, environment, and acquired through patterns. Individuals can change the latter two factors…"

The article then enumerates those non-monetary things that contribute toward happiness

• Good relationships

• Friends

• Playing with the children

• Cultivating a spirit of gratitude

• Participating in organized religion (not just personal religion)

8. People gravitate toward materialism to fill the void because they are not happy because they do not have the above…

Main Idea: Money cannot buy happiness, but misusing it can buy gloom.

I. Believing That Happiness Depends Upon Spending Hurts Us (Luke 12:15)

A. There is a certain threshold that puts us in the mainstream

--whereas poverty can bring misery, materialism does not bring happiness

Prv. 15:16, "Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil."

B. But we want more because of what things do for us; materialism is often our DRUG of choice

But like addictions in general, the price tag is too high:

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." I Timothy 6:10

Like an addiction, the dose needs to keep being increased:

Eccl.5:10, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless."

C. Materials goods are not evil, and many godly people have been wealthy. But when materialism becomes an addiction, it BECOMES evil.

---wealth as a side effect of righteousness is wonderful:

Prv. 21:21 reads, "He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor."

D. So what is the lure of Materialism?


• great in moderation or occasional

• but we become greedy…want more (Naboth’s Vineyard)

• addictions are a form of GREED


• Brand LABELS

• 1/3 who visit museums only go to GIFT shop

• people buy "top end" brands only of VISIBLE products

• ---example: new car, but old mattress

• this is usually subconscious; people do not ADMIT to themselves that they are competing for status

• peer pressure prevalent even among adults

• the quest for status creates a cycle of debt:

• "He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich." (Prv. 21:17)

3. The search for IDENTITY

• we all want to STAND OUT in some way

• many people define who they are but what they HAVE

• probably more an issue with men

4. The quest for SECURITY

• more an issue with WOMEN

• in 37 cultures studied, women look for men with MONEY

• problem: money is only TOKEN security (illusion)

• Eccl. 4:6, "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind."

5. Confusing an object with a QUEST

• we would like to be thinner, so we buy an exercise machine

• we want to eat healthier meals, so we remodel our kitchen

• we want to be promoted at work, so we buy a luxury car

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