The Pearl by John Steinbeck vividly illustrates why money doesn’t necessarily make a person’s life better. Kino and his family, the stars of the novella, find a massive pearl. This glorious discovery turns out to be worth an astonishing amount of money. At first, this appears to be a blessing, but as the story progresses, it becomes more of a curse. Kino, his wife, Juana, and their baby boy, Coyotito, are constantly under attack by mysterious forces. A doctor makes Coyotito sick just so he can treat him for money. A priest encourages Kino to give to the church, but he just wants the donation for himself. The attacks on Kino and his family grow to a point that some ne’er-do-well sets their family home on fire. The most tragic event though is yet to come. Kino and Juana’s beloved Coyotito – innocent and helpless – dies from a gunshot wound to the head as a result of man’s greed.
There are some who think increased finances will bring luxury and ease, and so bring fulfillment to their lives. But if we take a glimpse at humanity, we can observe that this is a false ideology. The New York Daily News and the Daily Mail wrote a list of people who had won the lottery and described how their lives became worse once money was dumped in their laps. New York Daily News wrote about one man, saying, “(Urooj Khan) The 46-year-old Chicagoan dropped dead the day after he won $1 million in 2012. An autopsy revealed that Khan died of cyanide poisoning. Both his sister-in-law and her father were suspected to be involved in his death but no one was ever charged.”
Daily Mail wrote about one kind man, Billie Bob Harrell, who used his winnings to support his family and gave generously to those less fortunate. However, Daily Mail states that, “His reputation for generosity caught up with him and he and his family had to move to avoid strangers coming to their home to ask for money … Harrell and his wife divorced and in May 1999, just two years after he won, he shot himself.”
Winners of the lottery are not the only ones to find that money does not bring happiness. Celebrities have this issue as well. Think For Yourself put together a video of various celebrities telling their personal story about how fame and money didn’t bring happiness. Lady Gaga stated she almost quit music because she wasn’t happy. Eric Clapton said, “I was a millionaire, I had beautiful women in my life, I had cars, a house, a solid, gold career – a future. And yet, on a daily basis, I wanted to commit suicide.”
John Lennon also said, “As a Beatle, we made it and there was nothing to do. We had money; we had fame – and there was no joy.”
Alanis Morissete said, “You know, I thought all would be helped and healed and soothed by fame. I will be less lonely, and I will be understood, and I will be loved, and that love will go in and heal any of the broken parts … And then I came to see that it was actually quite isolating.”
People often look to material things, whether it be money, drugs, or alcohol to satisfy their spiritual life – but it only to intensifies their sense of emptiness. These celebrities and various lottery winners can testify together that money cannot bring peace and joy to your soul. Humans need more than finances, happiness or even love. We need a purpose – one that’s beyond ourselves. It cannot be just a personal goal, for once that goal is reached, men and women tend to ponder if there is anything more to life and so fall into a deep depression.
However, if we find the purpose that is more and bigger than us and pursue to accomplish that mission to the best of our abilities, we shall always have a sense of meaning in our life. The soul cannot feel complete until its God-sized hole is filled with God Himself.