Does $ make you happy?

Writing these bi-weekly posts is complicated! I am sure each writer of this Bible Journal agrees that each post takes time of prayer, thought, research, study and time spent writing. We all want each post to be personal and soul-touching. We want God to speak to you through these words so that You, the reader my draw closer to our Heavenly Father. That being said, sometimes I dig too deep in what other people have said about my selection of verses for the day. I let their thoughts influence me and begin to think that what I have to say is not good enough. Well, today’s post might be pretty simple, but I believe God has put these simple thoughts in my mind to share with you today. Hopefully, you can draw near to God today and these words will creep into your thinking as you go throughout your day and think about serving God.

Our verse today is Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

We all know that money is important to survive day to day in this life. We need a roof over our head, clothes on our bodies, and food in our tummies. These are our basic needs, then we have all of the other needs that flood into our lives…medical bills, school loans, activity bills, car loans, extra-curricular expenses, and the list goes on and on, it never ends. I think back 20 years and remember when my husband and I were moving from 2 incomes to 1 income so that I could stay home with our soon to arrive newborn. We lived for a long while out of envelopes! Have you ever done this?? There is a certain amount of cash in each envelope and that is all you have for the month! We had envelopes for food, clothing, miscellaneous, entertainment, and emergencies. Every month without fail we would run out of the food money. We would be eating mac&cheese the last few nights of every month! It was not easy, but we ultimately were able to meet our goal of living on one income before our son entered this world. It was worth every bowl of pasta we ate!

This topic of envelopes just came up the other night in our house. We have some changes coming up for our family and we are discussing options as to where God may have our family headed in the next few years. Believe it our not, money plays a huge part in where we see ourselves in the future. We can base our future on what we could have and what the world would see as successful or we can focus on what God has in store for us and bring glory to Him by how we choose to spend our money.   It is fun to dream of “bigger and better”, but ultimately, we know that this will not make us happy. My husband and I came to the delightful conclusion that we are no happier today (not living out of envelopes) then we were 20 years ago! In looking at our future, we cannot put our focus on material possessions or how happy we think something will make us.

In preparation for changes coming to our family, we have been cleaning out our house! Closets, rooms, drawers, desks, storage rooms, and the garage! Why do we collect so many things?!?! In the past month we have donated, given away, and thrown away so much! Things that at one time we must have thought we needed, but only sat around and gathered dust. We are a culture of accumulators! The world around us tries to convince us that we need certain things. That our life will be easier if we have this gadget, or that we will be happier if we only add this ____to our life! Our family has a saying that pops up when we see something that is really enticing. My dad actually started this saying when we were growing up and because he was in the home building business it usually centered around seeing beautiful houses. He would take us to see these houses and we would really wish we could live there. He would say,  “Then We Will Be Happy!!!” We knew that just living in a beautiful house would not make us happy. That saying has transferred even to small things in our lives, like a new outfit, or even just a small un-needed purchase from the grocery store. We ask ourselves, “will that really make you happy?” Maybe for the moment or a couple hours, but ultimately the “happy” feeling will fade and need to be replaced by another purchase. Only God can fix our happy all the time. Our focus has to be totally fixed on God and what He has for us. It is so easy to get caught up in what everybody around us has and it is easy to get discouraged.

Jesus wants us to be content with Him and Him alone. We cannot store up treasures here on earth (Matthew 6:19) because God wants us to serve Him and not the things of this world. We should love God more than things. We should spend more time with God and less time on thinking of what might make us happy. We should sacrifice self for God and desire in our hearts to serve Him more and more each day. Loving God more than things should be our daily goal.

Psalm 80 today is pertinent to this text in Matthew!
Verses 8-10: “Listen to me, O my People, while I give you stern warnings, O Israel, if you would only listen! You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god. For it was I , the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.”