Is it rolling on the floor in laughter? Is it sipping a drink on the deck of a cruise ship as the sun sets? Is it being free from worry and anxiety? Is it a person’s ability to be upbeat and optimistic? Is it a feeling that comes over you when your life is chugging along without glitches filled with excitement and pleasure?
An Austrian millionaire is in pursuit of what seems to be the elusive commodity of happiness. He hasn’t found it yet. He’s now forty seven and for many years, he thought happiness would be found in wealth. But he’s been there and done that and guess what? He didn’t find happiness. Now he’s ditching wealth and heading in a new direction – a life of basic belongings and minimal assets. But what he’s looking for will not be found there either.
Weary of the Facade
Seriously, this millionaire, Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny and is moving into a two room cabin in Innsbruck, Austria. The gnawing emptiness inside seemed to climax when he and his wife were vacationing in Hawaii. Beneath the shallow pampering of spending three weeks on a five star vacation, Mr. Rabeder perceived a sickening lack of reality everywhere he looked.
“It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is,” Mr. Rabeder said. “In those three weeks we spent all the money you could possibly spend. But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn’t met a single real person – that we were all just actors. The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real.”
Possessions yet Poor Inside
Mr. Rabeder said: “For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness.” His solution to the lack of reality he sees everywhere and the absence of happiness he profoundly feels is what? Sell it all. Become a minimalist. Reduce your holdings and your assets and your possessions to nothing. But really, will such actions bring him the happiness of soul he is craving?
For sale: 3,455-square-foot villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at $2.3 million.
For sale: Beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with 42 acres, on the market for $1.2 million.
Sold: Collection of six gliders valued at $585,000.
Sold: Interior furnishings and accessories business — from vases to artificial flowers.
Sold: Luxury Audi A8
“My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing,” he said. “Money is counterproductive — it prevents happiness.”
But the reality is – money is not the culprit. The problem is people thirst after riches and pleasure rather than thirsting after God. People will love something. We were created with the capacity to love God but because of sin, we ‘tend’ to love everything and everyone else but God! That’s the problem. A wrong relationship with God is the root problem. Sin is the obstacle to our happiness – not money.
All the money from the sale of his earthly possessions is going to a microcredit charity he established to assist the poor in Latin America. Do you think by living in a two room cabin, Mr. Rabeder will have finally found the elusive happiness he has long been missing in his life?
People mistake favorable circumstances, good luck, enjoyment and pleasure for happiness. Some dictionaries define ‘happiness’ using such terms. What Mr. Rabeder needs to find is something far deeper than his physical surroundings and what he has or what he now does not have. That’s all shallow.
The Austrian Millionaire needs a spiritual solution to the gnawing absence of happiness in his life. There is deep-settled happiness, and a real sense of inner joy that comes from enjoying a personal fellowship with the eternal God. Humans were designed and created to enjoy such a relationship. When people choose to please themselves and indulge in pleasures and pursuits that gratify themselves rather than please God – they experience a lack of fulfillment. They experience an absence of genuine happiness.
The relational connection Mr. Rabeder and every other person needs has been made possible through the Lord Jesus Christ and is available to all today.
Come to Me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Alignment of Your Life – Harmony
The word ‘rest’ isn’t the thought of rest from fatigue or being able to relax and to sleep well – although those are side-benefits of coming to Christ for salvation. The Greek word for this ‘rest’ actually means to be aligned and functioning with purpose in harmony with God. It means to have a conscience at ease. Free of the weight of guilt.
When your car shakes at certain speeds and the tires wear unevenly and the vehicle pulls in a certain direction, the mechanic recommends an alignment. People living their lives with God on the outside function like a car that needs to be aligned. What’s the solution? Jesus invites you in words like these: “Come unto me…. and I will give you the alignment you crave – the smooth functioning in harmony with God that you so need.”
Beautiful rest which is the happiness and joy that seems to be so elusive to many. Jesus offers it to you, free of charge.