A new channel on satellite radio features songs by the Beatles. Today a song took me back to 1964 when I was an overweight nerd struggling to find my place in the world. What a difference fifty-three years makes. Now I am not overweight.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” reached the top of the charts for the group. When asked about the deeper meaning of the song Paul McCartney gave this reply. “The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won’t buy me what I really want.” Sing along with me aching Boomers…
I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
I’ll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright
‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
I’ll give you all I got to give if you say you love me too
I may not have a lot to give but what I got I’ll give to you
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love
A couple of years later McCartney wondered if the lyrics were untrue. “It should have been “Can Buy Me Love” when reflecting on the perks that money and fame had brought him. I wonder how Paul McCartney feels today with fifty more years of life mileage on the odometer. I suspect he now feels the original idea was correct. Money really can’t buy you love.
It is a deception of the world that money can buy you love or happiness or peace. I will be honest and report that I would prefer to have money over the the alternative. But I have learned that money is in no way a predictor of happiness. Some of the most miserable people I know could buy and sell me with their pocket change. It is human nature to believe that more money, some possession gained or a title achieved will finally make us happy.
I have been on both sides of the money thing. And I can tell you without reservation that money is unrelated to happiness. Author Tim Keller writes that “If you seek righteousness first, you get happiness. If you seek happiness first, you get neither”.
Happiness is connecting with the One who made me. When that identity in Christ becomes my focus I can find joy in even difficult circumstances.
In his letter to the church at Corinth Paul made the amazing statement that “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. ” (Philippians 3:1, NLT)
Where does that attitude come from? I can guarantee it doesn’t come from money. I accept the sad things in life because I am in relationship with a God who understands suffering and offers comfort that is inexplicable. Joni and I have stared down heartache and tragedy and found peace. Jesus had a thought or two on real joy and it’s source.
When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. (John 15:10-12, NLT)
I am nowhere close to saying that my joy is wholly mature. But I have hope as I write this. Hope that transcends sports cars, money, power, fame and even the difficulties of life. I have hope because I have found the source of joy. Paul wrote a joyful letter to the church at Philippi.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)
The Beatles were right in their original evaluation. Money can’t buy you love. Randy Alcorn wrote about two ways to use money. “When you leave this world, will you be known as one who accumulated treasures on earth that you couldn’t keep? Or will you be recognized as one who invested treasures in heaven that you couldn’t lose?”
I want to invest in heavenly treasures. Placing Christ at the center of my life allows me to invest my treasures wisely because I trust that He is in control. I have been given the right to be a child of God. I couldn’t buy that either. It is a gift of grace. The gift is available to anyone. You just have to receive it.