“Money won’t make you happy…but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”—Zig Ziglar
I heard someone say the quote above in a group setting, and the room exploded in laughter. It clearly hit a chord.
Our society says “The One With the Most Toys Wins!”.
At some level, we know this is a lie, but our society pushes us in that direction anyway. Many of us buy into it. I know I did.
I’m the son of a pastor and a teacher. My father left a lucrative business career to go back to seminary and work for a church. If anyone should know not to buy into the lie that “money will buy you happiness”, it should have been me.
However, from a young age, I was mowing lawns and keeping track of my savings. I pursued a career in business and made more money than I ever dreamed of in my 20’s.
In my early 30’s, I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t figure out why. I had a great wife and two beautiful girls. I went to church. I had a great career. I was seeking clarity but having trouble putting my finger on it.
What could be missing?
I thought the answer to my question might be found in the Bible, but I wasn’t even sure if all that stuff was true. Was I just a Christian because my parents were Christians?
To decide whether to study the Bible (or not) for answers, I read a book called, "The Case for Christ", by Lee Strobel. Lee was an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. When his wife became a Christian and started dragging him to church, he decided to use his investigative skills to debunk Christianity. Much to his surprise, his investigation proved the claims of the Bible were true and became a Christian himself!
I wasn’t nearly as hostile to the gospel as Lee was, and his arguments for the validity of the Bible and Christ’s resurrection overwhelmed me. I decided I would move forward and look for the answers to my problems in the Bible.
As I started studying the Bible, God started revealing to me the reason I wasn’t happy. He showed me that I was making money my “little ‘g’” god and putting it before the real “big ‘G’” God. That is not a formula for success.
A key verse I read said “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
By making money my god, my priorities got out of alignment. I was spending way too much time thinking about myself and not enough about others. As I spent more time with God and his Word, my priorities began to shift. I found myself thinking about how to better serve others. Working from a plan geared toward serving others, ultimately helped me gain confidence and find contentment.
This shift permanently altered the course of my personal and professional life. It lead me to a place of defining my personal calling as “helping high-capacity people uncover their God-given calling and give them oxygen to live it out”.
Pursuing this calling is what gets me up in the morning—even 20 years later! I pursue it at home, with friends, in volunteer activities and professionally.
Now I look at money not as a goal unto itself, but as a tool to pursue my purpose. My joy meter has gone from “empty” to “pegged to the right!” thanks to this shift of priorities.
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Jeff Thomas is the Founder/CEO of Archetype Wealth Partners. He has assembled an amazing team to provide an open architecture, fee-only (fiduciary) platform that offers a wide variety of investment choice to clients. Archetype exists to help families thrive across generations.
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