Day 30: My thoughts about money have dramatically changed over the years. If they were different than they are now, that could be a significant barrier to my willingness to move to Ethiopia. When we move, we’ll be walking away from an American surgeon’s salary. We’ll be entering into a life of dependence on the generosity of others to do our work. What makes me ok with that?
I’ve personally been on some extreme sides of financial prosperity, and I’ve known lots of people on both ends of that spectrum, too. I spent most of my childhood living in a trailer up in a holler, and now I’m married to a surgeon. My work as a social worker put me in close contact with people in really tough economic situations, and yet many of our friends have become doctors and professionals who are well-compensated for their work.
What has all this taught me about money’s effect on happiness? Well, the only thing I’m sure of is that money and happiness are definitely not synonymous. And they are not correlated in the linear fashion that we are taught to expect with increasing income. I’ve known people with little who are content and thankful, and people with little who are miserable. I’ve known people with much who are content and thankful, and people with much who are miserable. Sure, money can bring more opportunities, ease, comforts, and the ability to give, but it can also bring temptations, false security, and emptiness. Joyful people can be found in all socioeconomic classes, and people empty of joy can be found in all socioeconomic classes too.
So to us, money is not a reason to stay. Money will never fulfill us, money will never give us lasting joy, and we can’t take it with us when we’re gone. And if those things are true, we sure don’t want to let it be a deciding factor in whether we choose to follow where God is leading us.
When I was with my mom a couple of weekends ago, we had lunch with her cousin Tommy . After talking some about our work in Ethiopia he paused, then grabbed our hands and said emphatically, “There’s got to be more to this life than chasing money.” Oh my heart, isn’t that true? #31daysofcalling #lovesinethiopia