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So again, Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:7,9-10)

Money, we are told, can’t buy us happiness. Do you believe that? Probably most of us will nod our heads sagely as if to say, ‘How true!’ but when it comes to it, few of us will turn our backs on a fortune, or even a small bonus, were we to be offered it.

Money can, of course, buy us many things that we find it hard sometimes not to covet, and if it cannot buy happiness, it can undoubtedly keep at bay some things that may prevent us from being happy. But the fact remains that the essential things in life are beyond price: things like friendship, health, self-esteem, motivation, peace of mind, and fulfillment. Indeed, some of these may be lost rather than gained through financial riches.

However, one kind of riches can offer happiness, even though it has nothing to do with earthly wealth. It is God’s gift of new life in Christ, a gift not restricted to the few, nor granted through a lottery, but open to all, simply waiting for us to claim it. The more we know and love him, the more we will recognize him as our most trustworthy friend and so discover the wholeness, sense of worth and purpose, rest for our souls, and inner contentment that only he can bring. Here is a treasure indeed, the kind of riches that guarantees lasting happiness, now and for eternity.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves, to whom or what do you look for happiness? What do you see as self-fulfillment?

Perhaps this could be our prayer this week?

Loving God, thank you for your great gift of life in all its fullness – everything you have given us to enjoy, celebrate and live for? Thank you for the innumerable blessings you shower upon me every day: love to share, beauty to enthrall, health to enjoy, food to eat, and so much more – a world to excite, fascinate and savor. Above all, thank you for the life you have given me in Christ, a life that you want me and all people to enjoy. Teach me to celebrate your love in all its richness. Rejoice in your gifts in all their abundance, and celebrate life in all its fullness, to the glory of your name. Amen (Nick Fawcett)

Shalom to you, my friend.