Saturday, December 25, 2010

 

Are you a savage in pursuit of happiness?

As a student and servant of the Hip Hop Nation, many rap songs speak of the phrase being a savage in pursuit of happiness. While I won't go into the origins of this phrase, I will break down its meaning for others to understand as it is just as applicable to the minimalist B-Boy on the corner as it to the CIO who destroys American jobs by outsourcing to India. As Chuck D of Public Enemy once said, They praise the music, it's time to play the lyrics...



Let me first clarify that I do not believe that money in and of itself is evil. To accumulate wealth is not an evil thing. There is no great virtue in pursuing poverty for poverty’s sake. There were many wealthy men in the Bible…Abraham was very rich. Solomon by modern day standards was probably a billionaire. It is our attitude toward money that gets us into trouble. Money is not the root of all evil, it is the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil.

Let's back up this statement by looking a few facts:
Did you know that every single holy book also talks about the same concept and has predicted the downfall of the American society. I could include quotes from the Quran and the Veda's in a future update, but for now will stick with the bible. Here are a few verses for you to noodle:

The mess we find ourselves in can pretty much be traced to greed and covetousness. Is profit margin the only conversation in your workplace? When was the last time people at work all laughed together? Corporations exist to make money but they too have other goals (at least the ones that will survive long-term do).

During a recent fire drill, I was first out the building. I know that I need to survive in order to take care of financially my two sons. My behavior however was starkly different than my peers. Others wanted to save material things such as laptops, cellphones, etc. Kinda ironic in that I just got a cell phone three weeks ago, already lost it and got another one which would have been the last thing for me to think about saving. We are deceived when we think we need the insignificant things in life.

Money makes the false claim: “I can make you happy.” We all claim that money can’t bring us happiness but if we look at our check stubs, do we really live like that? What would happen if you were to not talk about money at annual review time and instead set the expectation that you wanted to have more time to spend with your kids? Money has been commoditized and if you truly believe you are valuable then ask for something that has more value than money.

There is no correlation between money and happiness. In fact, more money may bring unhappiness. The more money you have the more time you’ve invested. Money comes and goes. Time is something lost forever. You may think, if only I made $150,000/year. But then you would want to make $175,000. If you made $1 million you would want to make $2 million.

Dissatisfaction is a plague that comes with money. We believe the lie of unredeemed money when it tells us that we will be happy if only we keep up with the Joneses. On too many occasions, you will fall into the trap of indexing where you will be encouraged to compare yourself to others. Over time, this will create negative feelings inside you. Don't let yourself be compared. You are an individual, not a human resource which is a commodity.

Happiness based on external things is no happiness at all. Happiness comes from within. For those who are Christians, God’s presence living within causes them to be content in whatever circumstance they find themselves in.

People who look for the abundant life in their money and possessions never find true satisfaction.
Why do we set our affections on the creation rather than the Creator? God alone owns the world. The cattle on a thousand hills are His (Psalm 50:10). He alone can supply our every need (Philippians 4:19). There is no security in any plan which denies God as Lord of our lives and of all that we possess.

Money will make you happy? Don’t believe it. It provides a temporary pleasure like all the other ‘stuff’ in life. True happiness can only be found in a higher, transcendent One.




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