Contentment Does Bring Happiness
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.
— 1 Timothy 6:6-10
It is easy to believe that more riches bring more happiness. A study reported in the New York Times a few years ago challenges that assumption. Granted, people with a comfortable living standard are happier than people living in poverty, but beyond that comfortable standard—around $75,000 a year in the U.S.—happiness does not increase significantly.
It is also easy to believe that if our income doubled, we would be twice as happy. Wrong again. The same study looked at people making $25,000 per year and $55,000 per year. Those making $55,000 were only 9% happier than those making $25,000. That’s not close to the increase that we would expect. So, money can bring some happiness, but not to the degree that we might anticipate.
If money doesn’t make a significant change in happiness, what does? First Timothy points to two things: godliness and contentment. Walking with God and trusting in Him is the first step. And when we trust Him, we can be content wherever He’s placed us. The letters to Timothy in the New Testament were written by Paul, a man who was beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned. He knew what it meant to be content in any circumstance because he trusted in God. He might not have enjoyed his circumstances, but he found joy in being right where God had placed him.
Today’s One Thing
Instead of making a plan to grow your bank account, identify one thing you can do to grow in godliness and do it.