In Pursuit of Happiness
I just viewed a documentary called Happy. It documented the stories of several people and cultures from the most happy to the least. Here's the bottom line. The extrinsic goals people often seek for happiness actually lead to the lowest level of happiness: money, image, and status. The intrinsic goals that lead to the highest level of happiness are personal growth, relationships, and a desire to help.
The film included the story of one family in Denmark living in a co-housing community. The community included people of varying family sizes and ages. They lived, ate, and played together, taking care of each other, and providing a built-in community for everyone. The pressure taken off the shoulders of the single parents and isolated elderly increased their happiness levels measurably. It seems happiness is not tied to the stuff we think we must acquire, but the personal and relational growth we pursue. What will you do today to nurture your personal growth, relationships, and your desire to help?
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 4:32-37
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.