Bible Reading: Luke 12:13-21
Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own. Luke 12:15
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Zachary had it all. When his bedroom-based dot-com started making him money, he dropped out of high school to run a business that gave him a big-buck paycheck. He soon could buy almost anything he wanted. He sloshed through the mud in his own SUV. He whizzed over the snow in his own snowmobile. He sped across the lake in his own speedboat.
At first, Zachary’s friends envied him. Then business dried up and Zachary lost it all-the boat, the snowmobile, the SUV. Worse, he didn’t know what to live for anymore. He had been so wrapped up in accumulating stuff that getting more and more of it had become his goal in life. Zachary thought that buying the right things-and having enough things-would bring him utter happiness.
So what’s on your wish list? Exactly how much does it take to make you happy? What kind of car or entertainment system or other collection of toys would stuff you so full that you wouldn’t want anything more? Can you imagine obtaining everything on your wish list -so you could finally say, “I’ve made it. I’m happy”? Or would you start a new bigger-and-better list?
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, sounds like a man who had it made. He had what it takes to be happy. He exults, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Not only that, but his brief letter mentions joy or rejoicing seventeen times! Paul had it all.
But wait a minute! Paul was in prison when he wrote all those words about joy and happiness (see Philippians 1 :12-14). By any measure we would use, he had nothing. But he was happy. That’s why later he could write in his letter, “I have learned to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need” (Philippians 4: 11-13).
Real joy has nothing to do with the things you accumulate. The reason you can be joyful-whether you’re wealthy or poor-is because you can have the peace and contentment that come only from Jesus Christ. And here’s why: Christ is your most prized possession. You can’t lose him. He can’t be stolen from you. He can’t be broken. He won’t go out of style. And knowing him can give you joy that no mere thing can bring.
REFLECT: How happy are you with what you have? How are you Letting Christ be your most prized possession?
PRAY: Jesus, teach me to be content with what I have. And help me realize the joy of knowing you.