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Three Things That Money Cannot Buy

Three Things That Money Cannot Buy

IT SEEMS so ironic: Even when people face the threat of losing their job, their home, and even their pension, many of them are still obsessed with getting anything and everything that money can buy.

Such people are easy targets for advertisers, whose seductive marketing campaigns tell us that we must have a bigger home, a better car, and brand-name clothes. No cash? No problem—buy on credit! For many, the goal is to look well-off even if they are deep in debt.

Of course, sooner or later reality sets in. “Buying flashy consumer goods on credit in order to look and feel like a winner is similar to hitting the crack pipe in order to improve your mood,” says the book The Narcissism Epidemic. “Both are initially cheap and work really well—but only for a very short period of time. In the long term both leave you penniless and depressed.”

The Bible exposes the folly of what it calls “the showy display of one’s means of life.” (1 John 2:16) The fact is, an obsession with possessions distracts us from the very things that matter most in life—the things that money cannot buy. Consider three examples.


Brianne, * a teenager in the United States, feels that her father places too much importance on his job and the money it provides. “We have everything we need and more,” she says, “but my dad is never home because he is always traveling. I know it’s because of his work, but I think he has a responsibility to his family too!”

To think about: What regrets might Brianne’s father experience later in life? By putting too much emphasis on material things, how is he affecting his relationship with his daughter? What does his family need from him more than money?

Bible principles to consider:

  • “The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have . . . caused themselves a lot of pain.”1 Timothy 6:10, Contemporary English Version.

  • “Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meat where there is hate.”Proverbs 15:17, Good News Translation.

The bottom line: Money cannot buy family unity. That only comes from spending time with your family and giving them adequate love and attention.Colossians 3:18-21.


“My mom is always telling me that I need to marry a man with a lot of money and learn a trade so that I can have a good job to fall back on for the rest of my life,” says 17-year-old Sarah. “The only thing that seems to be on her mind is where her next paycheck is coming from.”

To think about: When contemplating the future, what legitimate concerns do you have? When does legitimate concern cross the line and become inordinate worry? How might Sarah’s mom provide a more balanced approach to financial security?

Bible principles to consider:

  • “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal.”Matthew 6:19.

  • “You do not know what your life will be tomorrow.”James 4:14.

The bottom line: There is more to a secure future than stockpiling money. After all, money can be stolen—and it cannot cure disease or prevent death. (Ecclesiastes 7:12) The Bible teaches that genuine security comes from knowing God and his purpose.John 17:3.


“My parents raised me to live simply,” says 24-year-old Tanya. “My twin sister and I were happy growing up, even though much of the time we had only enough to get by.”

To think about: Why might it be difficult to be content with basic necessities? When it comes to attitudes toward money, what example do you set for your family?

Bible principles to consider:

  • “Having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”1 Timothy 6:8.

  • “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.”Matthew 5:3.

The bottom line: There is more to life than money and the things it can buy. After all, it is as the Bible says: “Even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Really, the greatest satisfaction in life comes from answering important questions such as these:

  • Why are we here?

  • What does the future hold?

  • How can I fill my spiritual needs?

The publishers of this magazine, Jehovah’s Witnesses, would be happy to help you find answers to those questions.

^ par. 8 Names in this article have been changed.