Pastor's Corner - April 11, 2019
Be happy with what God has given you
April 11, 2019 | View PDF
PASTOR JIM NEAL
You like I have read and heard the admonition that “it takes three times the muscle work to frown than to smile, so quit working yourself to death and smile.” I’m no muscle expert and do not know how to validate that piece of information but I do know it is much more fun to smile and laugh than to cry and frown.
The challenge we have with happiness, laughter and cheerfulness is that we make it our goal and not a byproduct of our life’s work. Often, we hear people say, “I just want to be happy.” Marriages break up and come crashing down on the rocks of despair as the evening tides of a mighty ocean simply because one or both of the partners say, “I am just not happy with him/her anymore.”
Our society seems to be fast approaching the picture of a spoiled child sitting in a corner throwing a tantrum, crying and throwing toys all because we do not get our way and thus are not happy. Happiness in and of itself is a human emotion and thus is extremely fickle and given to the ebb and flow of life, often given to change without any advance notice.
Don’t you find it very strange that many of the truly inwardly happy people are those who have very little of this world’s goods. Men and women who gain genuine happiness have learned that sincere and lasting contentment comes from an overflow of thankfulness, faithfulness and acceptance of life’s offerings.
Another challenge with happiness is that we as humans tend to seek such in things in money. We have bought into the slogan of this world system that “he who dies with the most toys wins.” Forgetting what wise Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” Ecclesiastes 5:10 (New Living Translation)
When we bundle our happiness in the package of things, we imprison ourselves to a life of constantly checking out our neighbors and friends to see who has more than we do. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us with these words, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have…” Hebrews 13:5a
Lasting happiness in all avenues of life comes from doing the very best with the God-given and humanly honed abilities we have been blessed with. And remembering the exhortation of Paul, “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” Philippians4:11
Go out, do your best and keep smiling.
Jim Neal is pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.