I recently read Andy Stanley’s book, It Came From Within. It’s just an “okay” book. However, there were a few gems. In one chapter Andy writes, Wealth actually works against happiness. Typically, the more a person has, the less generous they are. The more a person has, the more anxiety they carry. The more a person has, the more aware they are of what they don’t have. I have found that it’s actually harder to be happy and rich than happy and not so rich.

The challenge comes when some “things” really do make us happier in life. Living in Northern Ohio, having seat warmers in my Honda Pilot really does make me happy. Because I love new experiences, having enough money to do some travel really does make me happy. Sitting in seats near the field rather than the nose bleed section at an Indians game really does make me happy. Call me materialistic, but I’m just being honest.

I think the challenge lies in us having money versus money having us. The key is to give away more the more we earn. To create financial margin in our lives so that we can be a blessing to the world.

In the end, I agree with what Andy wrote, but I think he would also agree with me that, following God’s financial plan gives us incredible happiness and opportunities to further God’s agenda on the earth.

Having just returned from Ecuador and visiting the little girl, Inte, my family sponsors through Compassion International, I saw firthand the happiness that money can bring. Julie and I sent a $300 gift to Inte’s family for Christmas (we’re allowed to do that one time a year). We had no idea what the money would be used for. (Compassion ensures that it will be used for a good cause.)

One of the first things Inte did when we were together was thank me for the Christmas gift for her family. I asked her what they did with the money. She explained that she had three brothers. Up until two months ago all four children had shared the same bed. With the money we sent they were able to buy two sets of bunkbeds. Now each of the children has their own bed. Inte smiles and tells me, “I sleep on top.”

Having money to bless others definitely makes me happy.