Maintaining Happiness

It was recently announced by Bloomberg that Bill Gates (Microsoft Co-founder) has retaken the title as richest person in the world. He rings in at a cool $110 billion beating Jeff Bezos by $1.3 billion. If money could buy happiness, I suppose these two would be the most joyful creatures on the planet. That has not been determined, so I suppose it’s all up for grabs.

I’m not sure about Bezos, but Gates has revealed his formula for happiness. He says he’s far happier now at 64 than he was at 25 (why 25, I’m not sure). Apparently, it doesn’t have much to do with the money.

Four Things

He lists four things that help him maintain his happy existence. They are as follows. “1) Follow through on your commitments. 2) Have a mindset of giving. 3) Treat your body like a sacred temple. 4) Put family first.”

As I read through them, it hit me how Scriptural each of these things happens to be. I guess it’s not so surprising to me that these things make for a more contented life. I was, however, mildly surprised that Bill Gates was the source of this list. He has indicated that he and his family are participants in a local church, but he seems to emphasize ethics and morality far more than the spiritual aspect of the faith.

I don’t know how much of his philosophy of life he’s gleaned from the Bible, but I’m guessing he’s gained a lot by osmosis over the years. That is to say, even if he’s not a believer in Christ, he’s glommed onto much of the Messiah’s teaching—whether intentionally or not.

If he was solidly grounded in the Christian faith, his formula for happiness would probably differ slightly. For example, faith in God might be in the list somewhere—quite probably as number one. I don’t want to be too skeptical about him though. Since number one is following through on your commitments, his commitment to the Savior might be contained in that tenet.

If That’s the Case

If that’s the case, the other three would necessarily follow—Scripturally speaking. Number two, for example, is a strong tenet of Christianity. Jesus taught us to be wildly generous. Since Gates is a multi-billionaire, it’s no surprise that he’s given away $35 billion over the past thirty years. He’s definitely not stingy—at least it doesn’t appear that way.

Number three is a no-brainer if you’re a student of the Apostle Paul. Paul tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Gates fits right in on that one. God gave us our bodies, we should take decent care of them.

His final one is a tad more restricted than the Biblical admonition to love your neighbor as yourself, but it goes along with the general idea. There’s an old chorus that says something like JOY—Jesus, Others, and You—in that order. Even we thousand-aires can do those things and find happiness. 

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

Dying With Billions

Every once in a while, there’s something that surfaces on the Internet that contains a bit of wisdom. A friend of mine sent me the following story. It doesn’t appear as if there was ever a billionaire named Steve Gouves, but this fiction contains some poignant truth.

Steve Gouves died a billionaire, with a fortune of $ 7 billion, at the age of 56 from cancer, and here are some of his last words: 

In the eyes of others, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have had little joy, and in the end, wealth is just a fact of life to which I am accustomed

At this moment, lying in bed, sick and remembering my life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death.

You can hire someone to drive a car for you, make money for you – but you cannot rent someone to carry the disease for you. 

One can find material things, but there is one thing that cannot be found when it is lost–“life.” 

Treat yourself well, and cherish others. As we get older, we are smarter, and we slowly realize that the watch worth $30 or $300 both show the same time.

Whether we carry a purse worth $30 or $300, the amount of money in the wallets are the same. 

Whether we drive a car worth $150,000, or a car worth $30,000, the road and distance are the same, and we reach the same destination.

If we drink a bottle of wine worth $300 or $10—the “stroller” will be the same.

If the house we live in is 300 or 3000 square meters—the loneliness is the same.

Your true inner happiness does not come from the material things of this world. Whether you’re flying first class or economy class – if the plane crashes, you crash with it.

So, I hope you understand that when you have friends or someone to talk to – this is true happiness!

Five Undeniable Facts:

1. Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy. So when they grow up they will know the value of things, not the price.

2. Eat your food as medicine; otherwise, you will need to eat your medicine as food.

3. Whoever loves you will never leave you, even if he has 100 reasons to give up. He will always find one reason to hold on.

4. There is a big difference between being human and human being.

5. If you want to go fast—go alone! But if you want to go far—go together!

And in conclusion:

The six best doctors in the world: 1. Sunlight, 2. Rest, 3. Exercise, 4. Diet, 5. Self-confidence, 6. Friends. Keep them in all stages of life and enjoy a healthy life. Love the people God sent you. One day he’ll need them back.\

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]