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.]