While preparing for Christmas, I’ve been pondering a conversation I had with someone years ago who believed happiness was attained by achieving financial wealth.
“Having a lot of money does not bring happiness,” I boldly proclaimed. The person I was speaking with said, “As a person who has never had a lot of money, how do you know that?"
I continued defending my belief that money does not bring the joy we long for because happiness can only come deep from within the soul. It has nothing to do with the amount of money we make or the possessions we own.
I lived with a deep sense of joy and happiness for many years when I barely had enough money to make ends meet.
In fact, some of the most joyous times of my life have been when I’ve been flat broke.
As I tried to convince this person of what I was certain of, he continued trying to convince me that having a huge amount of money does indeed make us happy. I reminded him that some of the most miserable people in the world are financially wealthy. He was still not convinced.
Our friendly debate ended with my words. He understood the point I was trying to make.
I believe true happiness comes from the ways we give of ourselves to others. Our greatest need as human beings is to love others and to receive love. Giving is part of loving. But we don't have to be financially wealthy to give greatly and generously. Even in times of financial famine we can find ways to give of ourselves to others.
We can give of ourselves by volunteering our time and services. We can give by making handmade gifts—these are actually the best gifts to receive. We can give sacrificially by giving our favorite possession to a loved one—this is the most powerful way to give.
And most importantly, we can encourage others with our words and compliments. So no matter what the amount in our bank account happens to be, we can give generously and live happily in the hardest of times.
This Christmas season and in the years ahead, let us focus on what really matters in life. Let us give extravagantly whether we have an excessive amount of money or not.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. ~ Matthew 6:19
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7