“Money doesn’t bring happiness.” No doubt we’ve all heard this saying more than once in our lives. Yet, I think it’s safe to say it’s a truth that most of us struggle to really believe if we were honest. For example, if you got a 4 or 5 percent raise or a big bonus this year at work, would that not bring a little smile to your face? Or perhaps a really big smile? How many of us would seriously consider a job change if it offered more money, even if we didn’t really need the extra money? I mean that little extra money could mean a nicer vehicle, or perhaps a bigger toy like a 4-wheeler or boat.
Yet while most of us struggle with keeping money in proper perspective, we read today about some people who truly learned that “money doesn’t bring happiness.” We read in 2 Corinthians 8:2, “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” The context of this verse is referring to some churches in Macedonia, who apparently had been going through severe tribulations and troubles, including genuine poverty. Yet they still were willing to give what little they had to other believers that were in dire poverty themselves. And yet despite this deep poverty they were dealing with, they were able to experience an “abundance of joy.”
I remember as a teenager going on a mission’s trip to Mexico. One Sunday night I remember going to a church service in the city of Monterrey. The building we met in had cinder block walls that was only about half finished. Some of the “walls” were low enough that you could literally step over the blocks. And you didn’t have to look out the window to see what the weather was, you just had to look up! That’s right, no roof at all. And we’re talking Mexico in July-hot! Yet to this day I still remember seeing the big smiles on everyone’s face and the absolute joy those people exhibited. And the singing? Wow! Those people had, like the early churches in Macedonia, learned the ability to be joyful in the midst of poverty. May we be reminded of this truth today as we live in this most materialistic society.