|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Why are we so dejected?
Have you ever had a fantasy about winning the lottery? Most of us have. The jackpots these days are typically in the hundreds of millions of dollars but seriously, I don’t need that much. I’ll gladly settle for say, four or five million. That should do it nicely, thank you.
But did you know that the majority of people who win those lottery jackpots actually end up worse off than they were before they had all the money? It’s true. Multiple studies have shown that most jackpot winners end up worse off not better. The winners report an endless stream of relatives, friends, and strangers begging for handouts. Also, there are scammers trying to entice them into investment schemes; charitable organizations (legitimate and not) asking for large donations; and lots and lots of arguments, fights, and broken relationships. The winners often end up bankrupt, divorced, estranged from family and friends, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. The studies show that over 70% of them encounter such problems!
But that wouldn’t happen to you or me, right? We would handle it well, right? You and I would withstand the pressure, make wise decisions, bless people, and honor God, right? Well … maybe. Or maybe it would ruin us too. Having lots of money and lots of stuff doesn’t necessarily make for a happy life.
To prove the point, today in the USA we have the highest standard of living any middle-class has ever had in any nation of the world. We have higher incomes, better housing, more access to good food and safe water, better healthcare, a better social safety net, and more financial security than anyone, anywhere. So, (think winning the lottery), we should be the happiest people on earth, right? Well, we’re not.
According to “The World Happiness Report”, the USA ranks 16th in the world in terms of overall happiness (that’s up from 19th last year). We’re behind such countries as Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Israel, Canada, and even Costa Rica and the Czech Republic.
Approximately 12% of the adult population (over 30 million people) report experiencing serious to moderate depression. Almost 50,000 committed suicide last year. I’m not telling you this to depress you (further?), only to illustrate my point that money is not the answer to our problems. I once heard a wealthy person say, “If anyone thinks having a lot of money will solve all their problems, they obviously don’t have a lot of money or they would know better.”
Now, having money is typically better than not having money (up to a point). And yet, there apparently must be more to leading a happy life than just having money and stuff, right? We already have more than anyone else in the world. Lottery winners have more than all of us. So, as the Psalmist asked in Psalm 43:5, “Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil?”
We’ll think more about this tomorrow.
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