It was a cool Friday morning due to a cold front coming through North Texas the night before. I was on my way to the hospital and decided to stop by the RaceTrac to grab me a hot cup of French Vanilla Cappuccino.
When I got to the counter to pay the kind lady behind the counter said, “Would you like a Kit-Kat?” I said, “No thank you.” She then said, “How about a banana?” To which I again said, “No thank you.” However she wasn’t through with her sales pitch yet.
She said, “Did you know that banana’s are good for you not just because of the potassium? They also have serotonin, which is released when you eat one that makes you feel happy. “ I said, “I eat a banana most days.” She said, “Do you feel good all the time?” I couldn’t lie so I said, “Not all the time.” She kept going, “Do you feel happy all the time?” I said, “I do most of the time.” She said, “Good, keep eating banana’s!”
As I drove away from the RaceTrac my mind was flooded with thoughts based on our brief conversation. “I’m not sure if she works for RaceTrac or Chiquita. “ “I wasn’t aware that RaceTrac employees could also serve as medical experts.” “I didn’t know that the good folks at RaceTrac would be so interested in my constant happiness.” “ I had been happy until I pulled into the RaceTrac and noticed that the price of gas had gone up again (this time to $3.19!)” And most importantly, “This is going to make a great blog!:)
It also caused me to think about our lives as Christians. What about our happiness? What makes us happy and what makes us sad? Is there a difference between being happy all the time and living a life filled with joy?
So here are my thoughts on these questions. And of course as always, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. First, what about happiness verses joy. It appears that happiness is based primarily on events, circumstances, and can last either a short period of time or a long period of time. If circumstances are favorable then you are happy, if circumstances are unfavorable then you will not be happy. So maybe eating a banana can make you happy (at least while you are eating oneJ
Joy on the other is more a state of the heart. It is more a part of who we are. After all, the Bible does tell us that our lives should be filled with joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always…” (Philippians 3:1; 4:4) While happiness may be fleeting, joy can last a lifetime. Potentially a person could be unhappy, yet still have joy in their life.
Because the kind lady at RaceTrac brought up the idea of happiness allow me to focus on that wonderful emotion for the time being!
I AM HAPPY WHEN I’M WITH MY WIFE. Laura and I have been married nearly thirty years. As we grow older I find that the more I am with her the happier I am. We love our children and we enjoyed them as they were growing up, but we are really enjoying our time together now. Just as an aside, in addition to the fact that she brings me happiness, she is one of the primary sources of my lasting joy!
I AM HAPPY WHEN I’M WITH MY FRIENDS. Through the course of a lifetime we develop many friends. Some will be short-term friendships that will last through a specific stage of life. Others will last a lifetime. We currently have some friends who are the dearest people on earth to us. We love our time with them. We laugh together, worship together, pray together, cry together, play together, and love life together.
I AM HAPPY WITH MY WORK. If I could live ten lives I would not change what I am blessed to do with my life. To be able to proclaim the Word of God each week to people who love the Lord is the greatest blessing in life. To be able to see lives transformed through the teaching of the Word and the ministry of the church is a tremendous blessing. To be able to work with a wonderful church brings great happiness. To be able to be associated with Godly men who preach, both young and old, is one of the great joys in life.
I AM HAPPY TO BE A GRANDFATHER. I’ve heard many people say they wish they could have skipped the children and gone straight to the grand children. I don’t feel that way because I loved having children in our home, but it sure melts my heart when that little bundle of joy smiles at her Pops!!
There are also some things that make me sad. My prayer is that I can do my part to change those things and that the sadness will only be temporary.
I AM SAD TO SEE SO MANY HURTING FAMILIES. It is heart breaking to watch couples struggle in their marriage. It is so sad to see parents who ignore their children or who refuse to teach their children the most important values in life.
I AM SAD WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT TURN TO THE LORD. Many people are hurting, struggling, and generally worn down by life. Jesus said, “Come to m all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) No life will be perfect but it can be made so much better by turning to Christ.
I AM SAD WHEN CHRISTIANS WALK AWAY FROM THE CHURCH. In my life I have watched way too many Christians leave the church because they got their feelings hurt, because they were disappointed by some leader in the church, because they have become discouraged, or because they think they have found something better. Some have convinced themselves that the church is not relevant or that the church is unloving, unkind, and uncaring.
I AM SAD WHEN PREACHERS ARE TREATED UNFAIRLY. I hear from a lot of young preachers that are treated in unchristian ways by elders, church members, and others who should be encouraging them. It is discouraging when a man who has committed his life to proclaiming the Gospel feels that he can no longer do what he so badly wants to do.
I AM SAD WHEN PREACHERS DON’T DO THEIR JOBS. While preachers should not be treated unfairly some preachers believe they should receive preferential treatment. Some do not study, do not visit, do not encourage, and do not fulfill their ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).
As you will recognize by now most of these moments of happiness or sadness are based on external circumstances. My life is filled with an inner joy because Christ is my King and the Lord of my life. He has redeemed me, placed me in His Church among some of the greatest people in the world and promised me a place of eternal rest. (1 Peter 1:3-5) By the way, what makes you happy?
Dear Father up in Heaven, thank You for making it possible for us to live a life of joy. Thank You for giving us times when we can be happy so that we can share Your love with others. Thank You, dear God for allowing us to endure moments of sadness so that we can know of Your comfort. Help us Father to share the joy of being a Christian with as many people as possible. In the Name of the One who brings us joy we pray, Amen.