We are thankful not when we gorge on the gifts in life, but when we truly enjoy them.
GK Chesterton put it this way: “…the proper form of thanks to it is some form of humility and restraint: we should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”1
Obesity and drunkenness are not evidences of a gratitude but of excess. Health problems and hangovers are not the aftermath of genuine enjoyment.
It goes the same with finances. A healthy relationship with money is not simply accumulation and the voracious hunt for more, but enjoying the gifts of life money can buy and by sharing it with those you love and the causes that change the world.
Meaningfulness in life is not found in status won by more money than the other guy or gal. Outperforming the benchmark or making more than your neighbor will not fulfill you.
Morgan Housel, a skilled financial author, wrote,
I recently had dinner with a financial advisor who has a client that gets angry when hearing about portfolio returns or benchmarks. None of that matters to the client; All he cares about is whether he has enough money to keep traveling with his wife. That’s his sole benchmark.
“Everyone else can stress out about outperforming each other,” he says. “I just like Europe.”
Maybe he’s got it all figured out.2
Housel’s anecdote reveals that money is simply a tool and a terrible god.
Thanksgiving reminds us that a grateful heart can leave a better legacy than a gigantic investment portfolio.
Enjoy your wine or Martinelli’s and turkey or ham with those you love.
And practice the kind of magnificent gratefulness that is marked by the increasingly rare wonder of restraint and humility.
- Orthodoxy, p. 88 of 234.
- Internal vs. External Benchmarks