How Much Money Would Make You Happy?

We have been considering the 10 Essential Conditions for coming to know God’s truth and finding life by Fr. Tom Hopko. Already we have looked at faith, reading the bible, praying, fasting, sexual behavior and practicing silence. Today we look at what we should be doing with our money. Here is #7:

The person should give at least a couple of hours a week to charitable work, and should give away some of their money (if they can) in a sacrificial way. They should do this, as far as possible, without anyone knowing what they are doing.

My father-in-law told me that when most people (rich and poor) are asked how much money would make them happy they all answered that having more of it would make them happy. Our money, and what we do with our money, is connected to the condition of our hearts in a profound way.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

I have found that, when it comes to money, there are two types of people. There are those with a healthy view and they share money. And there are those who have a sick view and they love, worry, lie, hide, over-spend, hoard, dream, complain, count and recount their money. Sacrificially giving some of our money away is the medicine for fighting an unhealthy view. Remember that it is our teaching that money is not evil but the love of money is. Having money and keeping it for ourselves is a sin. Straight up!

The rich usually imagine that, if they do not physically rob the poor, they are committing no sin. But the sin of the rich consists in not sharing their wealth with the poor. In fact, the rich person who keeps all his wealth for himself is committing a form of robbery. The reason is that in truth all wealth is from God, and so belongs to everyone equally. The proof of this is all around us. Look at the succulent fruits which the trees and bushes produce. Look at the fertile soil, which yields every year such an abundant harvest. Look at the sweet grapes on the vines, which give us wine to drink. The rich may claim that they own the fields in which fruits and grains grow; but it is God who causes seeds to sprout and mature. The duty of the rich is to share the harvest of their fields with all who work in them and with all in need. St. John Chrysostom.

I know this isn’t exactly in the same category of sacrifice for you or me but, I read yesterday about Gil Meche a major league baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals who has had a couple of surgeries on his shoulder and can no longer start. I do not know him but I know that his attitude toward money is unique in his profession. He has made $50 million dollars playing for his team over the years and part of his contract states that the team must pay him an additional $12 million more while he sits on the bench injured this coming season. He decided that it isn’t right to be paid for not working so he retired from the team and told them that he does not want to be paid the balance of his contract. When asked, “why?” He said that he wants to earn what he makes and be able to look at himself in the mirror. It seems that he thinks he has enough money. Not many people think this way.

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4 Comments

Filed under Orthodox Christianity

4 responses to “How Much Money Would Make You Happy?

  1. s-p

    After being relatively rich and relatively poor and working for a lot of rich and poor people, I’ve noticed no matter how much I make, I was always “just getting by” and so is everyone else. Its not what you don’t have that would make you happy, its how you regard what you do have.

  2. We must remember that all should give, not just the rich, the poor has a huge need to also give, in fact they probably are poor because they don’t give.

    • Kay

      John, I wonder how many financially poor people you know well. The poor people I have known have been some of the most giving.

  3. I have found, as I’ve been in job search mode, running out of money for rent, that it is the poor who offer me money; at least 2/3rds of the time, it is these who offer the little they have. Not that those of my friends who have money have not cared or prayed for me, but in general it is the poor… My friends have seen in it also in their business – they have had bills unpaid by rich people but the poor who use their service always are honest and pay.

    What a good example this baseball player did, even though by far he has a lot of money!

    It looks like I myself have part time work starting this Wednesday; I pray that I can be like those of my friends who gave from they have. It is so easy for the heart to be hard and closed, Lord have mercy and help us soften our hearts!

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