So often we chase after an allusive monetary value that we think will bring us happiness. A higher salary translates into the possibility that we can: Buy a new boat, new clothes and accessories, go on fabulous vacations, or perhaps remodel our home from top to bottom. The list could go on and on…you can fill in the blank with whatever you choose.
The truth is that all the riches in the world can’t buy us joy, peace, patience, goodness, and love. A new thing can bring excitement, and a little bit of happiness, but those previous attributes are what makes life fully satisfying.
Money does not buy happiness, but being true to yourself and your values will always bring a return that is immeasurable.
Recently, I watched the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. It is a relatable and comical movie. The vivacious character Rebecca Bloomwood played by, Isla Fisher, has a problem with shopping. And buying on credit– which your probably guessed by the title of the movie. Her debt becomes a rather nagging problem with an intense debt collector who is expecting Rebecca to pay a surmountable amount of money accumulated by her excessive use of credit cards.
Her character is easy to sympathize with… Let’s face it, we all like to shop, and while shopping, we acquire stuff, and sometimes far to much stuff. At the time, we convince ourselves that we must have it. Similar to Rebecca, I have gotten my fair amount of calls from debt collectors and it doesn’t feel good. It is hard to live within your means when every store window, store ad, and commercial is telling you: Yes, you should buy this.
Buying what we need and what we want in proper moderation is hard! My husband and I are currently in the process of paying as much as we can to eliminate credit card debt. And to not buy things that we don’t need.
Its understandable and relatable that the character of Rebecca Bloomwood wants to feel good about herself and clothes and new accessories will do that momentarily. But the problem is– as Rebecca finds out– to keep this expensive habit she has to lie to her employee, her debt collector, her friends, and her family.
But the biggest lie she had to tell was to herself. She believed that she needed these clothes and accessories to make her happy. All it brought was problems, loss of relationships and emotional despair (due to the debt). She lied to herself about what the true definition of happiness is. So often we do this as well…
Money does not buy you happiness. And stuff does not by you happiness either. When Rebecca Bloomwood tries to explain why she shops she has an unsettling response.
Because when I shop the world gets better. The world is better. And then it’s not anymore. And I need to do it again.” (Rebecca Bloomwood, Confessions of a Shopaholic http://quotetoremember.blogspot.com/2014/01/ confessions-of-shopaholic-2009.html .)
Rebecca, finally does resolve her credit debt. With so many high fashion clothes and accessories, she decides to have a sale with her clothes as the merchandise. With help from her family and friends, the sale is a success and she is set free from the bondage of her credit card debt because with her sales money she is finally able to pay off the debt.
The bible tells us that we are to,
… lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12 1-2).
We need to let go of every sin, or bondage, if we want to live in the freedom of Christ. We are not equipped to or asked to suffer the way Jesus did on this earth, but we each have our own cross to bear. And that struggle may be an addiction of some sorts, and not necessarily with shopping. It could be drugs and alcohol ,pornography, unhealthy eating habits( you can be addicted to food). Whatever the sin is, it can trap or ensnares us and we need Jesus to help us break free. Our time on earth is finite, so lets run our race well. This includes me too… I have several addictions that I need to break free of myself.
Rebecca Bloomwood is such a relatable character because we all struggle with letting go of the items or possessions that we have acquired.
The things that we acquire in life are nice but they do not define us. They may feel as though they are an extension of our emotions, character and hopes and dreams. But this is not true it is just an allusion. It is just stuff. And these items have an expiration date…at some point they will become out of fashion, broken, torn, unworn, and unwanted or unneeded. The things in life will always decay grow old damaged and worn. Just as we grow old these things we own die too, but….
The richest moments in life may come when we are poor in income but strong in wisdom, friendship, and love.
The bible says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into heaven” (Matthew 19:24).
The conversation was that the rich man asked what was required of him to enter into heaven. And Jesus wanted him to sell what he had and use the money to help the poor. The rich man walked away sad because he could not do this.
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. ”But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich (Luke 18:22-24).
Those that do inherited riches and wealth in this lifetime have a hard path to navigate. Because sin so easily ensnares us and we live in a world that is infatuated with images to make us believe we need more stuff. This story is so sad but true. We see it daily. The rich man was unable to let go of his earthly wealth to gain true wealth and happiness and eternal life in God’s kingdom.
He was unable to look beyond the here and now because God was offering him treasures in heaven. And how often do we do the same. Our perception remains limited to the here and now and we forget where our treasure should lie.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6-19-20).
More important than buying clothes and accessories, electronic devices, trinkets, and gadgets –which are all earthly treasures– the bible tells us that we should lay up treasures in heaven where moths and rust can’t destroy them. But the good deeds that we do for our family and friends will last for eternity. These types of treasures have value of immeasurable worth because these acts of kindness carry on into eternity. In other words they will last forever.
The problem with laying up treasures on earth is that they will never really satisfy. And so often the things we buy today becomes tomorrow’s junk. If it’s clothes it gets worn, torn, and eventually may end up as a rag to dust with. Or the stuff that we buy may end up in a pile of junk in our garage.
God has been laying on my heart the importance of storing up treasures in heaven and not worrying about the stuff that I have acquired, because, quite frankly, we can’t take it with us. The things that we acquire in life are nice but they do not define us. As I have been working on going through items in my kitchen, bedroom, and living room etc. I have been finding that I have so many things that I no longer use or need. And when I packed it all up and gave it to goodwill, I was not only helping someone else, but also myself. Because it is not good to have too much clutter in your house. By having less, I feel I am more blessed. Because now I have less clutter and less mess. And peace of mind knowing that I am trying to give to others the things that I don’t use.
The bible tells us “It is better to give than receive” (Acts 21).
We all have a moral compass and doing the right thing even when it is not in your best interest will bring you happiness as it builds character. In fact, often selflessness, the opposite of materialism, is what makes us happy. I am always blessed when I am able to do for others. First, I have to take care of myself, my house, my family. But in times when God has been generous to me and I am able to give to others–I feel a very special glow of happiness.
Furthermore, Luke 14-12-14 states:
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
This verse is a reminder to not just do good to my family, friends, and co-workers who are able to recipicate. But to help the poor and those who are disabled and unable to repay because that is the will of God. Jesus tells us that that even if we give a glass of cold water to another in His name, that we will be rewarded.
And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward ( Matthew 10:42).
All the money in the world can not compare to a life knowing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How do we know Him? We can spend time in his word and spend time in prayer throughout the day. I need his grace to help my perception each and everyday. Knowing that my life is but a vapor (James 4:14). I will try to fix my eyes more on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
We all know that we can’t take anything with us when we die. Our stuff will be left behind. And when we die our bodies will remain, but our spirit will be risen and we will be given new bodies in heaven. However, our relationships with one another will remain. And the good deeds we have done will have eternal value. My prayer is that God would continue to mold and shape me, as He is the potter and I am the clay, so that I can reflect his Son more each and everyday (Jeremiah 18:6).
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:12- 13) .
While on this earth we will not have the perception to see clearly. We don’t always realize what is important and what is not. But when we get to heaven we will see clearly. And what will be the most important attribute to have in heaven is love. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It is our entryway into heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever would believe should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
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