There are more important things than money. Yes, even during the current economic crisis, no matter how apocalyptic some believe it is, our fulfillment is not related to the size of our bank account (if you are so blessed as to still have one).
That old tale of the wise man who attended many men in their death beds rings true today. He never heard one of them say, “I wish I had made more money in my life,” or “I wish I had worked more hours.”
No. At the point of no return, men usually say things like, “I wish I had spent more time with my children,” or “I wish I had showed my wife how much I loved her.” Those are the regrets.
There are just as many unhappy, depressed, scared millionaires and billionaires as there are poor people. In fact, one could argue that the percentage is greater among the rich, because they stand to lose more at any given moment. But regardless, the point is that old truth we have known since the beginning of time: You can’t buy happiness.
So why do we obsess about it so much? Why is everything these days argued and explained in terms of dollars and cents? Why is our nation’s mood so driven by our economic outlook?
I would argue that it is because, although we are all well aware that money is not of ultimate importance, we believe it is one of those things we have to get out of the way so we can concentrate on what we really know is significant.
It’s like clearing out the driveway if your goal is to get some food at the supermarket. You need the car to get there. The driveway is blocked. So you must clear it out to be free to do what you really want to do: get the food.
But, in truth, we are deceiving ourselves. What if the only way to get to the store from your house is on foot? Why would you go hungry spending so much time clearing the driveway? More to the point, what if you already had all the food you needed in the pantry?
All we need to experience joy and fulfillment, as individuals and as a nation, is readily available to us and has nothing to do with how well off we are economically. In many ways, our economic future depends on it too.
The reason our country has thrived through so much adversity in our history is because it began with one powerful idea that we are endowed by our Creator. Everything hangs on those four words in Genesis 1:1 that open the Bible, “In the beginning God” Money has nothing to do with it. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
That is not just Biblical, it is real.
And that is the point, isn’t it? Actually, we have been given clear warnings:
Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 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 23:4-5)
[T]hose who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Timothy 6:9-10)
And our experiences confirm the truthfulness of those warnings.
This financial crisis is the perfect example. It was predicated in no small measure on a few people (in the corporate world and government) who abused the system for personal gain. Yet our political leaders seem to miss the point completely.
How can you fight dishonesty? With more regulations?
Maybe someone should ask our presidential candidates that question the next time they want to focus on “economic” issues.
Our country’s dire circumstances stem from something much deeper than mere economics. Therefore, it will take a much more than economic ideas to turn the tide. It will take a vision as that of our Founders who knew “God governs in the affairs of men.”
That is the vision “we the people” must keep in mind as we approach this campaign season, for it is “we the people” who must guard it.
This is the approach CWA is taking as we engage in this massive effort to get people to vote with our She Votes 2012 project. We hope you will join us.