Happy Ever After

“She’s going to be happy for the rest of her life.” That prediction was made by Alain Maboussou, a 26-year-old refugee from the war-torn Republic of Congo. He was referring to his 3-month-old daughter. It’s the kind of prediction any parent would like to make for their child’s future. What led Alain to feel such confidence for his child?
Alain and seven of his co-workers at a meat-packing plant in Nebraska made headlines recently by sharing the winning ticket in a record Powerball lottery. After the winnings are divided equally and all taxes are paid, the eight will each receive a check for $15.5 million. Three of them have already quit their jobs.
Many who read Alain’s quote will nod their heads in agreement. “Yes, with that kind of money, she will be happy all of her life,” they might think. But is that true? Does a large pile of money, amassed over a lifetime or by a lucky draw, guarantee happiness?
The Bible warns us against such delusions. One hint at this truth is found in Proverbs 20:21: “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end” (NKJV). Other statements by the wise man point in the same direction. “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). “For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations” (Proverbs 27:24). Many such warnings against greed can be found in the Bible’s wisdom literature.
Jesus affirmed the idea that money can’t buy happiness. In one of his most famous parables, Jesus told about a young man who came into sudden wealth. Without wisdom, however, he quickly spent all that his father gave him and was grateful to accept a shameful job (Luke 15:11-16). Had he used his money wisely he would never have known hunger. Instead, he envied the pigs because they had food to eat!
So is there no way for Alain Maboussou to provide for his daughter’s happiness? Yes, there is. Paul pointed to it in 1 Timothy 6:6: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” In seven words, the formula for our children’s well-being is summed up. If we teach them to be godly and to also be content, we make it more likely that they will always be happy.
How many parents follow the Bible’s counsel? How many Christian parents follow it? Or do our children see us placing more emphasis on SAT scores than on Bible knowledge? If they’re late for Bible class, will they be lectured as sternly as if they are late for soccer practice? Our children see through our words and know what we deem most important.
Do we want to guarantee that our children will be happy for the rest of their lives? Then let us heed the Bible’s advice to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Share your thoughts: