Gen-Z, Money and Happiness (Newsfeed)


NEWSFEED – January 26, 2018

Impact 360 Institute and Barna Group recently partnered together to put on a very intriguing simulcast on the “Gen-Z” generation – the generation after Millennials. A Gen-Zer is someone born roughly between 1999 and 2015 (which means the oldest Gen-Zers are in their early 20s).


Lots of facts and stats were given, but one especially stuck out.


A group of Gen-Zers were asked to point at a picture and word combo that best answers the question “What does happiness look like?” Their options were “Success” with a picture of hands fanning bills, “Family” with a picture of a couple with four children, “Education” with a picture of a hand holding a diploma, “Spiritual” with a picture of a man praying by a sunset, and “Health” with a picture of a variety of items on a table (fruit, weights, dayplanner, etc.).


The majority chose the first one – “Success” with the money.



At least with this specific focus group of Gen-Zers, the majority believe that financial success equals happiness. And who can blame them? They are being cultured to believe that wealth leads to unending possibilities of joy. That’s what they’re seeing on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.


For example, one famous YouTuber, Jake Paul, is a 21-year-old that makes his living off videos and merchandise. Jake makes somewhere between $68.1k-$1.1m a month. And what does Jake make videos of? Literally, whatever he wants. And a whopping 13.3 million people subscribe to his channel (and that’s just on YouTube). So, it’s safe to say that thousands of Gen-Zers daily watch his videos and buy his merchandise. Jake is something of a “role model” to so many young people – teaching them, indirectly, what it means to be happy. And happiness, as we can see, comes in the form of financial wealth.

So, why bring this up?

Culture says, “Financial success is happiness,” and God’s Word says, “Communion with God is happiness.”


In fact, the Holy Spirit says through Matthew, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) Again, He says through the writer of Hebrews, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5)


Here’s the reality that we all need to critically reflect on (because it ain’t just the Gen-Zers who are seduced by financial success): nothing in the form of money or possessions will leave this world. In fact, they’ll eventually burn up. That, obviously, is the more negative motivation. But here’s the positive: communion with God lasts forever. An indescribable joy can fill anyone who’s been transformed by God through the gospel. This is a joy that’s so real that money or possessions don’t even compare for a second.


Whether you’re a Gen-Zer, a Millennial, or from any other generation, fight for real happiness – happiness that comes (and stays) from communion with God himself. A joy that’s so good that letting go of all money and possessions is worth it.



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