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Why are you unhappy?

From Seth Godin: A journalist asked me, “Most people have a better standard of living today than Louis XIV did in his day. So why are so many people unhappy?” What you have doesn’t make you unhappy. What you want does. And want is created by us, the marketers. Some of us would be a…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

From Seth Godin:

A journalist asked me, “Most people have a better standard of living today than Louis XIV did in his day. So why are so many people unhappy?”

What you have doesn’t make you unhappy. What you want does.

And want is created by us, the marketers.

Some of us would be a lot happier if we didn’t take our cues from the marketers. In this time of economic turmoil, we still have toilets, A/C, microwaves, fresh water, cheap and fast transport, unlimited information at our finger tips, medicines that have doubled life expectancy, food of every imaginable taste, and the list goes on and on.

We live in a time of relative peace and those of us in America live in the most prosperous country of all time, by far. Even with this stupid economic downturn. God has blessed us incredibly, yet we often let the marketers and pundits impact our happiness more than him. We worry about last night’s debate and we worry about the elections. We worry about yesterday’s 508 point loss on the Dow and what it means for our portfolios and our jobs.

And in so doing we become like the children of Israel. If you’re worried about the economy or the election, maybe it’s time to reboot.  “Consider the lilies of the field…” Jesus says.  He goes to the heart of the issue. You have to love him when he brings perspective to those of us who are wringing our hands:

“You cannot serve both God and money.
 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:24-28)

Here’s a devotional video for you today:

Comments (9)

  • You have summed up my thoughts exactly. I was going to post on my blog about these very issues; I think I’ll just link to your post instead, as you’ve said everything I wanted to.

    There are Christians in our community here who are wringing their hands over what will happen “when/if” Barack becomes our next President. There are others absolutely devastated by the economic downturnnot worrying about putting food on the table, or a roof over their heads, or even if they’ll have nice clothes to wear to work, but instead about whether they’ll have enough money left over in 20 years or so to buy that luxury RV or the condo on the beach.

    I love the analogy to the Israelites here. We need a good, healthy dose of perspective…and, in that sense, maybe what we’re going through isn’t such a bad thing after all.

  • Here, Here, Seth!

    On a side note, in one of those crazy leader trainings we had to make up a song. We changed to words to, “You better worry, cause hell is crappy.” Not the most loving, but we thought it was pretty funny.

  • “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Funny isn’t it? We tend to think of Jesus’ words as gentle hints rather than commands. “Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life.” Yup, that’s a gentle hint……just like the gentle hint that says “do not commit adultery!”

    Still learning on that one – not the adultery, the contentment!!!

    Btw, Jen, I think your song writing skills have great theological potential but the semantics need a little work :))) You made me smile anyway! lol Cxx

  • WOW! If we could survive the 80’s and music like that, we can survive anything! Thanks for offering great hope, Seth! 😀

  • Thanks for this blog today Seth. We are over here in the Philippines, and everywhere we turn there is poverty. Whole families are living in homes built of corrugated steel and plywood that are smaller than most of our walk-in closets in the US. And yet they don’t complain. They smile at us as we walk by on our way to our varying ministries. Their children all laugh and giggle and ask us our names, and then come flying at us with hugs. The parents here are more concerned with how to pay for clean drinking water than they are about anything else.

  • Hey, Just wanted to update you about Eileen (young mother with liver/breast cancer). She just told us that her tumor markers are down and she can stay off her really harsh chemo for a while. She has changed her diet to clean, unprocessed, raw diet and things for the moment are good. Her cancer is terminal, but she just celebrated her son’s 6th b-day and that was a blessing. Thanks for the prayers…and can you pray for us? We got a referral for our son, Titus Tariku, in Ethiopia and are waiting for a court date. I would love to have him home by Christmas! God Bless you all!

  • A promise from the Lord:

    “You will be happy and it will be well with you.” Ps 128:2

    That’s a conditional promise that follows this condition:

    “How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” Ps 128:1

    At the heart of the issue it’s not a happiness problem, but a lack of fear. Fearing the Lord most definitely includes being content and not worrying. If all our focus is on the good Lord, we’ll have automatic blinders to the worries of the world.

  • What a bunch of arrogant self centered people. We have really lost the focus that it’s not about us. Way to hit the nail on the head. Geez, I’m on a wireless laptop in a heated home drinking some killer coffee right now. I’ve got it pretty good yeah? Listen to Francis Chan if you want your pretty little world to be rocked. Be forewarned however, you may not like what he has to say. He’s awesome! Another is Tom Davis, check out his red letters campaign. We forget about the rest of the world and how they live on $2 a day, when we won’t take the time to bend over and pick up some change off the pavement. Just because most of us don’t live in it, see it, or hear about it much (poverty) we couldn’t care less. Out of sight, out of mind. Remember Matthew 25:40…whatever you did for the least of these my brethren, you did for me.

  • Seth,
    Great post! I’m reminded of the people’s reaction to the reading of the law in Nehemiah 8:9 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest {and} scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

    The one thing I see in many Christians is a lack of joy. I think that’s because satan is aware that the joy of the LORD is our strength.


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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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