Contrary to popular opinion, fun has a price tag attached to it. Sometimes it’s fun to go get a milkshake for under $5. Maybe there’s a movie you’ve been wanting to watch; when it’s finally released, you get a group of friends to go watch it for just $10. Money buys happiness in these scenarios, and it’s pretty cheap.
Perhaps you’ve saved up some money, and you take a road trip with some friends to go see an awesome concert. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime and the tickets, gasoline, and hotel end up costing each individual just $500. This fun is a little pricier, but you still purchased it with money.
For my tenth anniversary, my wife and I traveled Northern California. We saved up for years, and we were able to get some airline miles and deals on hotels, but the price tag at the end of the trip didn’t matter. To this day, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It created countless memories that drew me closer to my wife. It was an adventure, to say the least, and money made it a possibility.
Is travel your idea of fun? Whether it’s Hawaii or Scotland, money will get you there. Are you into entertainment? Whether it’s a movie night at home or traveling to a Hollywood premier, it’s going to take some cash. Maybe you follow an NFL team and want to go cheer them on; you better have something in the bank account.
What’s the Deal?
Why have so many people perpetuated the saying, Money can’t buy happiness, when I have clearly demonstrated otherwise? Money can buy happiness…lots and lots of happiness. Whether it’s an experience with friends and family or viewing beautiful sights around the world, money is the common denominator required.
It’s easy to see that ultimately other humans make these events what they are. While it certainly would be unique to have a private concert in your living room, sharing a concert with others makes it beautiful (not to mention the fact that a private concert still includes members of the band so you’d be sharing it with them). It would be amazing to travel the world, but I think it would be a little less amazing to do that alone.
As I said, I absolutely loved traveling Northern California, but it would have been a sad trip to be there without my wife. In fact, having her there made the trip as special as it was. Being moved to tears by a family of deer crossing in front of the backdrop of Yosemite was a taste of heaven. But viewing all of that while holding my wife’s hand makes it a memory etched on my heart forever.
Money can buy happiness to an extent, but sharing it with others puts the exclamation points on those experiences.
God Has Expensive Taste
Here’s what Christians know to be true – God made all things. And since God made all things, his fingerprints are on every square inch of creation. Often theologians refer to this as common grace in creation. That is, what is true, beautiful, and good can be enjoyed by the atheist and the Christian. Believers are moved by breathtaking landscapes just as unbelievers are.
What’s interesting about price-tags is that humans determine those. Delta Airlines sets the price of a ticket to Australia. U2’s agent establishes a price for their concerts. The NFL, NBA, & MLB set the price for fans to attend the games.
Buying a milkshake is definitely cheaper than flying across the globe, but they’re both fun. The price we attach to each one is ultimately pointing to the Creator. God has placed value upon creation with his fingerprints, and the monetary value we attach to it affirms that reality.
Maybe a different example will help. Running a stop sign and murder are both illegal. Murder, however, has a greater punishment attached to it. The reason for this is because humans are created in the image of God. Humanity realizes this truth, and the greater punishment affirms the value God places on humans as his image bearers.
Similarly, more expensive experiences typically affirm the greater beauty. Regardless of the price-tag, attaching monetary value to anything is one way of affirming what is true, beautiful, and good.
Maybe we could say that money does indeed buy happiness, but God created all that exists, even the emotion of happiness. Therefore, we shouldn’t worship money – just like we shouldn’t worship any of the created experiences we mentioned – we should worship the One who created all that has been, all that is, and all that will be.