If I grant you one wish, asking you, "Do you want money or joy?" which one would you choose? Yes, you can only pick one. Now, carefully think it over.

I know what's going through your mind; you're thinking, "If I pick money, I'll be able to have joy, too."

Certainly, money can buy you almost everything, but can it bring you true joy? Many years ago, a wealthy king named Solomon experimented on his riches and shared with others his findings in the most popular book--the Bible; let us see what this king discovered in order to help us answer this question.

The king, whose annual income reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars by today's standards, used his wealth to build great houses, pools, vineyards, gardens and parks; and in them, he planted all kinds of fruit trees. He possessed great herds and flocks; had singers and musical instruments; and servants served his every need. Of course, he had plenty of gold and silver and treasures from all the lands. In his own words: "I was great, and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Whatever my eyes desired, I didn't keep from them." (Ecclesiastes 2.9-10, WEB)

So what did he find after experimenting with his riches? He concluded, "Then I looked at all the works that my hands had worked, and at the labor that I had labored to do; and behold, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was no profit under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder echoed King Solomon's thoughts.

Recently, Karl made the headlines. For what? For planning to give away every penny of his estimated $4.7 million fortune.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," said Rabeder, 47. "Money is counterproductive--it prevents happiness to come."

He continued, "For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness. I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years."

However, he realized that he had become a slave to things he did not need. "It was the biggest shock of my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five-star lifestyle is," he said. After selling some of his possessions, he said that he feels free now.

Karl's entire fortune will go to his non-profit MyMicroCharity, which offers loans to the needy in Central and South America, and encourages development and self-employment in the region. And after all his fortune is gone, Karl will move into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a studio in Innsbruck. What a man! In my opinion, he has found the true riches of life.

While money may bring us delights for our eyes, it cannot buy us lasting joy for our spirits, as Karl and the ancient king have learned. If fire meets money, everything that money could bring will shrivel into flames. On the other hand, if you possess joy, no fire can ever burn it. And since you will not be dependent on material riches with true joy, you will be able to be content in whatever circumstances you're in.

The apostle Paul said, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content in it. I know how to be humbled, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in need." (Philippians 4:11-12)

Likewise, I have learned to be content in whatever situation I'm in. I have lost my eyesight and the ability to walk, and I face many daily challenges caused by my multiple disabilities, yet, I'm never scornful. I do not feel bitter, and I do not remember ever being truly depressed. I have never said what I have often heard from others: "Life is unfair." Instead, I am able to find joy and remain in it.

What was Paul's secret to his contentment regardless of his situation? What is the secret to my own joy?

Jehovah God is our secret to true joy, as the Bible says, "Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah." (Psalm 144:15, ASV)

My relationship with God brings me the greatest joy and contentment. When I know and have God, I have everything else. God is not just my life--He is more than life. After all, Jehovah is the Creator of life, so the Creator is always larger than the creation, regardless how grand the creation may be.

Why does having an intimate relationship with Jehovah bring you true, lasting joy?

Jehovah brings you joy, for...

• God is love. When Jehovah is the very representation of love (I John 4.8), we can be certain that we can entirely trust Him. When we can completely trust someone with our very lives, it not only brings security but the greatest joy, thus "whoso trusteth in Jehovah, happy is he" (Proverbs 16:20, ASV)

• God provides direction. On our own, we are like travelers trying to find our way in a foreign country without a map and a compass; for this reason, many of us are being led astray, either by others or by our own self-efforts, as the Bible says, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12, WEB) Heeding the guidance from Jehovah, on the other hand, will lead us in the right direction in life, give us real purpose and provide us with the tools to achieve that purpose: "The reward of humility and the fear of Jehovah Is riches, and honor, and life." (Proverbs 22:4, ASV)

• God delivers us from troubles: "The fear of Yahweh [Jehovah] leads to life, then contentment; he rests and will not be touched by trouble." (Proverbs 19:23, WEB) This does not mean that those who have God as their Best Friend will live a problem-free life; rather, it means that if we heed God's Word, we will avoid much trouble in our lives. For instance, if we follow God's commandment to love others as we love ourselves, we would not have wars or terrorism.

• God gives us an eternal hope. What happens after death? Is death the end of it all? When we know Jehovah, we will know the answers to these pivotal questions. When we abide in God, we receive the greatest opportunity to live forever in fellowship with our Heavenly Father. Thus, instead of being the end, death will be the beginning of a brand-new life after we are resurrected (raised from the dead) on God's appointed time, someday in the future. This is why Jehovah brings lasting joy--eternal mega joy!

Would you like to experience immeasurable, eternal joy? Then welcome Jehovah and Jesus into your heart, for nothing and no one else can ever promise you the kind of joy only God can bring you!

Author's Bio: 

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with 23 book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to 22, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit http://www.shirleycheng.com for more inspiration.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at http://www.shirleycheng.com and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.