I have had many people enjoy my home lately, find a peace, and contentment here. I have also had experiences with the following longings expressed...
"My home is not this large."
"You have a beautiful place I hope you understand how lucky you are"
"That pool table!"
So, is it the pool table, the larger house, the fireplaces, the ceilings, that bring contentment into my life? While I am a peasant compared to King Solomon, I live a life of wealth compared to the world. Does this money bring joy? It certainly makes some decisions easier to make, and it also makes other decisions harder.
If you ask the wealthy if the have found happiness in their power and money... I think you may be surprised if they answered honestly. Possessions do not bring sustained happiness, nor does power, fame, success, social life, or even health. In fact, these things all bring pseudo-happiness, fleeting and not long lasting.
Would you believe me if I told you I was just as happy growing up in my mobile home, as I am in this house that I share on the internet? Would you believe that my favorite house of all time is still the first home I purchased at just 600 sq foot house. I lived there in college. Nothing compares to the contentment I found in that home! Yet the homes are not why I was happy. I was just as happy the years we needed to rent apartments, and the years we rented a house here in Georgia.
Where then does this constant source of happiness and contentment flow from?
"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content (autarkes) in whatever circumstances I am." - Phil 4:11
The Greek word autrakes translated "contentment" comes closer to describing the biblical concept of true happiness.*
Have you searched for happiness? Where do you find it? In things, people, travel, places? I would contest that real happiness is on the inside. A contentment found in our soul.
Over 3000 years ago, King Solomon had all that life had to offer, to this day I would argue he was one of the wealthiest men to ever live. So did he find happiness in his power and possessions? NO. I fact at each turn he needed to acquire more. Shipping in peacocks and apes to his kingdom. Creating fabulous gardens. Have incredible sex, hundreds of women at his beaconing. Do you know what he concluded?
"All is vanity"
Real happiness is on the inside. God designed happiness to be a sustaining, infinite source. If you'd like to know more about where my contentment flows... Read Solomon's early years of faith and his trails when he seeks worldly happiness in the books of Chronicles 1 and 2, then Kings.
*Theime, The Pursuit of Happiness (2014), pg. 2
Rachel Aissen is an award-winning meteorologist,