You may have seen the quote by American syndicated humorist Art Buchwald,1 “The best things in life aren’t things.” It has a way of popping up in my mind whenever I’m about to buy a new gadget that I’ve seen advertised or exchange a household appliance for the latest model. Sometimes I give in anyway, but at least this saying usually helps me give the purchase some extra thought and consideration.
It’s not easy to lead a simple life in the complicated 21st century. So many advertisements call out to take advantage of this deal or that “once-in-a-lifetime offer,” and the pace of innovation means what you buy today is outdated before you know it—and often before you can actually afford to replace it. But stuffing our lives with things won’t bring satisfaction. “Life is not measured by how much you own,”2 said a Master of one-liners two millennia ago.
In the end, happiness often comes from the simple pleasures that can be drowned out when we are preoccupied with the superfluous, or that we pass up on as we race to acquire more. A key to living a happier life is to learn to be content with what we have, giving thanks to God and using His blessings wisely.3