Living the dream

“I need money—lots of money!” My friend sighed deeply, stirring his coffee at our kitchen table.

“Why?” I asked him a little surprised. My friend wasn’t poor and seemed to have all he needed to be reasonably happy.

He looked at me a little confused. “I’ve got dreams, man! You know—a bigger house and a new car. Everything in my life looks so dull! But I don’t have the money to change it.” He really did look unhappy.

The apostle Paul made a good point when he said, “I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance, whether full or hungry or whether having plenty or being poor.”1 To be content is the key. Granted, it can be a bit tricky, as everything around us is constantly sending us the message that the only road to happiness is through much more of everything that we already have. That can indeed make life pretty discouraging.

The English millionaire Jon Pedley also had great dreams—and unlike my friend, had managed to fulfill them. Money, fame, respect—he had it all. He’d even been featured on magazine covers.

But it turned out he was struggling. Somewhere past the façade, there was a nagging little voice that told him that all was not as it seemed to be. That there was more to life than just wealth. He hated that voice and tried to drown it out with alcohol. One day he drank too much and had a car crash. He ended up in a coma for six weeks.

But that wasn’t the end.

When he finally woke up after six weeks, he’d had enough. He saw he needed to change. And change he did! He gave his heart to God and most of his money to charity. Then he flew to Uganda, lived in a mud hut among the poor, and started an orphanage for lost children.

Not everyone is called to sell all their worldly belongings and live in primitive conditions, but Jon Pedley’s story is a good illustration of how true lasting happiness isn’t found in accumulating money and possessions.

  1. Philippians 4:12 CEB