We often make the mistake of thinking that more money would bring more happiness. We know in our minds that money brings as many cares as it does freedoms and that the wealthy are no happier than the merely comfortable. Yet we still believe that we would be more satisfied if we only had more wealth. De Witt Talmage beautifully counters that notion in this brief excerpt of a sermon from long ago by explaining that both poverty and riches are a matter of the heart.
There are millions of people who on departing this life will have nothing to leave but a good name and life insurance, whose illumined faces are [proof] of illumined souls. They wish everybody well.
When the fire bell rings they do not go to the window at midnight to see if it is their store that is on fire, for they never owned a store; and when the September equinox is abroad they do not worry lest their ships founder in a gale, for they never owned a ship; and when the nominations are made for high political office they are not fearful that their name will be overlooked, for they never applied for office.
When the children of that family assemble in the sitting room of the old homestead to hear the father’s will read, they are not fearful of being cut off with a million and a half dollars, for the old man never owned anything more than the farm of seventy-five acres, which yielded only enough plainly to support the household.
They have more happiness in one month than many have in a whole lifetime. Would to God I had the capacity to explain to you on how little a man can be happy, and on how much he may be wretched! Get your heart right, and all is right. Keep your heart wrong, and all is wrong. That is a principle settled in heaven.