Are You Any Happier Now Than You Were Then?

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
— Luke 12:15

By Kyle Idleman

My wife and I were young, newly married, and living in a tiny house that cost $25,000. The monthly payment is etched into my memory, as numbers tend to be when you don’t have much: $213 per month.

That seven-hundred-square-foot home was the best we could manage, and we looked on the bright side. For example, you just had to plug in the vacuum cleaner once – its cord could reach every wall on the house from the one outlet. And we certainly didn’t get tired running up flights of stairs or jogging over to “the west wing.” It was small, but it was cozy.

We didn’t have central heat, for that matter; we had a floor furnace that took up most of the only hallway in the house. There wasn’t room on the sides of the walk around it, and it was too long to step over. So to avoid burning your feet in the winter, you had to take a running leap to clear it.

The house did not have double-paned windows, so ice formed on the inside of our windows. It was my job to get the ice scraper from our car and scrape the ice off the window inside the house.

The walls were paper thin, so if the dog next door was barking, or his stomach was growling, we heard it in high fidelity. I’m fairly certain that the one bathroom we had was taken out of a small airplane.

We were full-time college students, and we were technically living well below the poverty line. We ate Ramen noodles three nights a week. A night on the town meant ice water for two and then splitting an appetizer. Our goal was to keep the check under six bucks. Yep, the servers loved us.

Years later, my wife and I were lying in bed reminiscing and playing “Can you top this?” with austerity stories, cracking each other up. Then we grew quiet and she said, “Are you any happier now than you were then?” I didn’t even have to think. “No,” I said. “I’m not.”

That story isn’t unique;  if you’ve been alive for a while, you can probably tell a similar one. Even though we know experientially that money won’t satisfy us, still we always seem to be chasing it.

But the Bible reminds us many times that our lives are not measured by how much we have and that wealth can never really satisfy. So Paul gives this advice to young Timothy:

Flee from pursuing wealth; don’t put you hope in money. It is so uncertain. Be rich in good deeds. Be satisfied with having food and clothing. ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’.
— See 1 Tim. 6:6-19

It’s advice worth heeding.

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19, paying close attention to Paul’s advice regarding money and possessions. Underline the ones you most need to be reminded of today. 

Sit with your spouse or a close friend and tell some of your own “remember when” stories. Ask yourselves the same question: Are you any happier now than you were then?


"Are You Any Happier Now Than You Were Then?" was taken from not a fan. daily devotional: 75 Days to Becoming a Completely Committed Follower Of Jesus written by Kyle Idleman

Kyle Idleman

KYLE IDLEMAN is the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the author of the award-winning and bestselling book, not a fan. You can follow him on Facebook.