Does Money Make Us Happy?

When I was living at home with my parents, life was comfortable. My parents didn’t spoil my siblings and me, but they provided handsomely for us. It wasn’t until I got married and left home that it dawned upon me…there’s a ceiling to what Edric and I have, financially speaking, and it isn’t very high. 

We started off simply as a young couple and for the first time, I began to compare myself with others. Edric and I couldn’t afford luxuries like travel, buying new cars, eating out, or alot of personal shopping. 

We were both corporate people so the prospect of amassing wealth was a far off dream as we were in the beginning stages of our careers. Even though I appreciated how hard Edric worked, there were occasions when I paid attention to the disparity between what I grew up with and what I now had in marriage. And although I didn’t think I had a heart problem when it came to money, the reality was I believed that having more money would make me (us) happier.  



Thankfully, God used that stage in my life to expose my dependence upon money for security. Those early years of marriage were humbling as I watched my siblings and peers enjoy material things I desired for myself. Yet having less than I hoped to have was spiritually beneficial. 

Edric and I realized that we didn’t need a lot to be happy. In fact, those difficult years turned out to be some of the most romantic memories! The secret to joy was contentment. ‬‬When I stopped comparing my financial status to others and turned my attention to what I had, I saw the goodness of the Lord in my life — my wonderful, hard-working and loving husband, beautiful children, my health, the ability to work, a happy home, harmonious relationships, ministry, and most of all, God Himself. I accepted those years of spiritual pruning as protection against greed and materialism. 

Since God allotted for Edric and me to struggle financially, I believe He purposed it for our character growth. I honestly don’t think we were ready for the stewardship of financial wealth because our perspective on money was immature. We saw money as something to serve our own aims. If we had more we would have spent more on ourselves and attached our sense of self-worth and identity to money. 

Thankfully, God was always faithful. We never went hungry. God also assured me that He would provide for Edric and me. Provision didn’t always mean material wealth but I knew I didn’t have to worry about our future because God was our Father.

Psalm 34:10 tells us, “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.”‬‬

As God continued to increase our financial capacity, there came a point when we were preparing to build our home. This plan coincided with the efforts of our church to build a new training and worship center. One Sunday service, a guest speaker spoke on giving to God. Stirred by the message, Edric decided to write a check to support the building fund. Because of the amount he chose to give, he tearfully surrendered our dream to build our own home. Yet God assured him, build my house and I will build yours. Sure enough, about two years later, God provided above and beyond what Edric had written on that check and we were able to finish our house! 

Money is so often a test, whether in lack or abundance. And sometimes more so when it is abundant! The Bible tells us, “…Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭NASB

Although money doesn’t make us more important or more special, it does have that sneaky way of making us feel like this is true. Whether a little or plenty, we all have the tendency to pursue it above our pursuit of God. Perhaps this is why the wise King Solomon wrote, “…Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬ 

Since money competes with God’s place in our hearts, the first cure is to fall more in love with God rather than money. Luke 16:13 tells us that we cannot serve both God and money because we will end up loving the one and hating the other. 

The second cure is to give. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 tells us, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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 ‭9:6-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Generosity is a good gauge for our heart’s attitude towards money. Author and speaker, Craig Groeschel, beautifully put it when he said that the pursuit of God over money will make us “strangely content” and “irrationally generous.” 

Randy Alcorn reminds us that “Too often we assume that God has increased our income to increase our standard of living, when his stated purpose is to increase our standard of giving. (Money, Possessions and Eternity

I am continually blessed by a couple I know who sets aside a giving fund from their monthly income. And whenever God prods them to give to a person or an organization, they willingly do so, having allocated the money beforehand for whatever or whomever God should convict them to be generous towards. 

We also need to remember that generosity is a condition of the heart not an ability reserved only for the wealthy. A poor and kind African man once told a missionary, “no one is too poor to give nor too rich to receive.” 

The third cure is remembering that God owns everything and we are His stewards. King David declared, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name…”‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29:11-13 NASB‬‬ 

When Edric didn’t understand stewardship, he went into near bankruptcy.  His mentality used to be, “I earned this. I worked hard for this. I can spend my money on what I want to.” (He has shared this in public.) It wasn’t until a loving friend corrected his mindset that he realized he doesn’t own anything. He is just a steward of the resources God has entrusted him with, namely his time, talents, and treasures. 

The fourth cure is to remain simple. Just because we can pay for an item or a service that is more expensive doesn’t mean we should. When I wrote an article about why I don’t buy designer clothing, bags, or shoes it wasn’t because they have no appeal to me. They are beautiful things indeed! But the price at which they come by is unconscionable when so many people have needs around us. 

Do I go shopping and try my best to look put together? Do I still look for quality goods? Of course! Yet I want to quote another insight from Randy Alcorn: “Abundance isn’t God’s provision for me to live in luxury. It’s his provision for me to help others live. God entrusts me with his money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build his kingdom in heaven.”  

So does money make us happy? Yes and no. It doesn’t make us happy when we look to it as the source of our happiness. But it can make us happy when:

1. we love God more than money and find contentment in Him.

2. we cheerfully give when God leads us to.

3. we understand that we are merely stewards because God owns everything. 

4. we choose to be simple so we can spend less on ourselves and bless others more.

In short, money “makes us happy” when we don’t use it to serve our own purposes (purposes which will never fully satisfy), but do use it to serve God’s purposes, which will give us infinite joy!  


32 thoughts on “Does Money Make Us Happy?

  1. Hi Joy,

    I was really amazed with your article. Right now me and my live-in partner are having some difficult time because of money. It would be nice if I can tell you my story because i badly need your advice. Thanks!

  2. This article is spot-on. Financial security, I think, is the number one issue for wives. Thank you for reminding us that we are but stewards of God’s resources and that contentment is key.

  3. Thanks for sharing!! Beautiful money tips for single people as well who think that just because we’re single, we earn it to splurge and indulge. Guillty✌️ On the other hand, I can attest that God indeed loves a cheerful giver. What you give out to those who need it most always return a thousandfold. Thanks, Joy!!

  4. I am so truly blessed by this message. So many of my perspectives about money changed after reading this one.
    A few weeks back , the sermon in my church was about the same topic and the my pastor , did say something on the similar lines.. “money is not bad , but it is the love of money that’s the root cause of all evil.. We must not allow money to master us, rather we should be masters over the money and use it to glorify God and His kingdom.. ” as u truly stated that it’s our dependence on money that makes us insecure.
    Thank u for sharing

  5. Very inspiring read. I had goosebumps while i read between the lines. This is something i think EVERYONE can relate to, since, sadly money is what makes the whole sysyem function. It is a need. As an inspiring entrepreneur, my whole lifr and income changed when i focused being able to help others rather than for your own good. Im starting with helping my own family, then hopefully others someday too. God bless you and your family.

  6. Money will make us happy such that we need it to live decent lives being able to eat decent meals (being able to afford a good resto once in a while) and buy decent (not designer) clothes and and put a roof over our heads. However, money will only make us happy up to a certain point. After a definite ceiling (amount), it cannot anymore bring us joy. It is only good if we have a little bit of extra for something. The keyword would be being able to afford an experience that will last through our lifetime like family vacations and get togethers.

  7. Thanks for sharing… At present, I am deeply troubled with financial matter…. Upon scrolling down my fb wall, I saw this article… what a coincident ? Or God’s marvelous way of letting me realized many things…
    GOD is my SAVIOR…

  8. I came to realize that money is not the measure of happiness when I work overseas thinking earning more would make me contented. Yes for a couple of reasons: help and giveback to my parents for the sacrifices they made for sending us 3 siblings to a big school, that I can spend for my wants but only for a time being. But it never made me genuinely happy because there’s no place like home.

  9. You both are so looking at the lens of the camera when you should be looking at the screen! That’s how you take selfies! But bless you both. There. Done. 🙂

  10. I am so blessed to have read this article, Joy. Thank you so much.
    Please give my regards to Edrick. Thanks, again.

  11. Thank you Joy. I so needed to hear this. I’m a struggling single mother whose 29-year-old son is suffering from borderline personality disorder. I have no savings, and always compare myself to my siblings who have their own businesses, cars, and homes (in plural). I live in a rented townhouse that’s in dire need of repair, but God is faithful. Little by little, we shall accomplish our goals. It is slow going, and frustrating sometimes, and there are also times when I feel like giving up and throwing it all away, but I know God does not mean for me to do that. He is there, He is real, and He is faithful–even when I don’t feel Him sometimes. Thank you for the encouragement!

  12. Hi Ms Joy .. Such an inspiring story and i can really relate to this .. Thanks for the wonderful article. I learned so much. Keep on inspiring others with your words. Take care and God Bless

  13. Hi Ms Joy .. Such an inspiring story and i can really relate to this .. Thanks for the wonderful article. I learned so much. Keep on inspiring others with your words. Take care and God Bless

  14. wonderfull insights! God indeed is speaking to us through metaphors in this world. And its up to us how are we going to show it through our lives.
    But sometimes i get caught up in the middle coz i myself is just starting to build my so called ” financial foundation” and most of the time when im about to save money for an emergency fund or for my wedding, there are people who ask money from me. And Most of the time its my parents to almost a monthly basis.
    How should i go about this?
    Your advice would be of great Help.

    1. A well written article about Money and how to handle its abundance. However there is one sentence that I believe firmly a misconception about about GOD “Since God allotted for Edric and me to struggle financially, I believe He purposedly” WRONG- God is so loving. Each one’s misfortunes is one’s doing. Owe it up and don’t blame God. Your life turned around because you turned to GOD and were determined to do good consistently through the rest of your life with money, etc.

  15. Such a good read, Joy! I can still remember how I used to struggle with finances and after God spoke to me about not worrying, I just left it all up to Him and I was happy. I resolved all my financial issues and got married and unbeknownst to me when we were dating my husband has a bit of money. God took care of everything but now, because Im used to it i guess, I still don’t buy branded over expensive stuff and I don’t just throw away money even though I can now afford it. Its funny though how after I surrendered all my financial difficulties with God money was never what i really “want” anymore. And I am happy and content. My husband would always tell me to pray that we win lotto but I always tell him that God wont give it to me because its not the desire of my heart. I only want to be comfortable but a surplus of it ionly causes trouble. He still desires to “win lotto” and have more and from my point of view, he has a lot of it but he is not content and happy with what he has acquired (financial wise). I just pray soneday he understands and feels what I feel and change his hearts desire. I always tell him, you already have money and other people in the world cant even afford to eat, whiy will God give you more? ( through winning lotto haha). He will let the more needy win! And thus I get a sulky face 🙂

  16. I agree with what you wrote a hundred percent! That’s exactly the life advocacy of my husband and I and the ministry that we are into. We equip people to handle money-God’s way! and we are a part of a worldwide ministry known as Compass Finances God’s Way.

  17. I am guilty of this. I had a lo of chances and blessings to save, and steward god’s gift, but to no avail i splurged and forgot tht God is the source and I had set him aside, it is a valuable lesson though, I am still financially immature that he wasn’t ready giving that financial freedom because i still need to grow and hone my character. 🙂 This spoke of my situation and God’s message was sent through you!. God bless you!

  18. I am guilty of this. I had a lo of chances and blessings to save, and steward god’s gift, but to no avail i splurged and forgot tht God is the source and I had set him aside, it is a valuable lesson though, I am still financially immature that he wasn’t ready giving that financial freedom because i still need to grow and hone my character. 🙂 This spoke of my situation and God’s message was sent through you!. God bless you!

  19. When I begin to think about all the nice and pretty things that others have that I don’t, it’s so easy to fall into envy and even self-pity, and to think that having more money is the solution to those “bad feelings.” But then I realize money isn’t what I need. What I need is to repent, because these feelings are sin. And then I also need to count my blessings. I remember Psalm 8 and how God has been mindful of me no matter how small I may be, and how God has blessed me with glorious eternal blessings in Christ Jesus! And Romans 8:18, that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us.
    You’re right, it’s really our perspective on money that matters. But sometimes no matter how hard we try to work things out, and even if we do have the proper perspective on material things, life doesn’t get easy. And it is in times like this when I say often, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! 🙂

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