November 3, 2020
If I Won a Million Dollars…
Hollywood “news” shows amaze me. All the stories are about rich celebrities who have so much going for them, but who are in some kind of struggle. Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber’s antics, Charlie Sheen’s rants, prominent athlete’s domestic assaults; Heath Ledger, Mac Miller, Anthony Bourdain, and Robin William’s suicides; trusted newsman Brian William’s lying on air; Bruce Jenner’s sex change; Tiger Wood’s sex addiction; Bill Cosby’s numerous sexual assaults; Kanye West’s manic behaviors; and Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking and suicide, as well as the myriad of bankruptcies and broken families.
Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose external, material situations should seem to buy them the most happiness. As we watch the implosions of world-famous people or prominent folks in our local communities, we have to ponder the connection between joy/peace and our circumstances. We’ve been brainwashed to think that a better spouse, job, body, health, house, status, or financial portfolio is all we need to “find” happiness, but we have a lot of evidence to the contrary.
We repeatedly see people who reach the top of the ladder, by society’s standards, only to find emptiness, stress, doubt, insecurity, fear, addiction, or chaotic behavior awaiting them. How often do people say, “If I just won a million dollars, my life would be perfect?” Did you know that thirty percent of lottery winners who win more than one million dollars deal with divorce, financial struggle, significant health issues, legal problems, addiction, estrangement from family, depression, or suicide within three years of winning? Our flesh always wants MORE! But what we want most – happiness, belonging, security, peace, forgiveness, and unconditional love – can’t be bought using material resources.
God’s Holy Word tells us we are not to set our desires on anything that belongs to others. Not only can these cravings make us frustrated, depressed, and miserable, they can lead us to sins such as adultery, addiction, gossip, lying, or theft.
True joy will never come by envying others. True joy is a byproduct of pursuing and living in the presence of God. Happiness is then a coincidental byproduct gushing your way. Realize He gives you exactly what you need, and focus on stewarding that well. Then you can experience true joy anywhere and in any circumstance, from palaces to prisons. Show Him you appreciate and can handle what you have, and once He sees that, He will bless you with so much more (defined by God and crafted specifically for you) because He is a generous and loving God.
Today, be mindful of envious thoughts and desires. When you start to eye up something you don’t have, STOP! Look inside and explore why God hasn’t given it to you yet. Would it really be the best thing for you right now? Then look at what He has given you and be thankful. Concentrate on staying in communication with God to understand the “whys”. There’s no need to be envious of anyone. After all, the most precious and valuable possession is free and available to everyone: a relationship with God and eternal life through Christ. Tune in tomorrow for more on envy’s trap. Whether you chase superficial material riches or you pursue true wealth from God in your inner core is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I thank You for all the blessings and gifts You have given me. I know that You will provide everything I need. But Father, I confess that at times I am envious of others and of their possessions and circumstances. Grow in me a heart and mind for the eternal kingdom and an awareness of my spiritual needs. I desire a heart less focused on material and psychological answers that are shortsighted, quick fix solutions. Thank You for being patient with me. I am a slow learner. I’m excited about what You are showing me in my life these last few years. In Jesus’ all-satisfying name I pray; and all God’s children say –AMEN!
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Deuteronomy 5:21
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed 2 Corinthians 9:8