When Thomas Jefferson penned the words, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, he would be shocked at what we call happiness today.
Many people today are pursuing the American dream…get more ‘stuff’. “If I could only live in a bigger house; If only I had a pool in my back yard; If I could drive THAT kind of car; If I could afford designer clothes”, etc…then, I could be happy. Everyone wants to be happy but there seems to be a huge gap in what we are experiencing and what actually makes us happy.
There was a very popular movie in 2006 called, “The Pursuit of Happiness” starring Will Smith. It was a true story based on the life of Chris Gardner, a single Dad who was homeless with his young son for at least a year. It is truly a rags to riches story – Gardner goes from being a homeless, discouraged, depressed man to an extremely successful businessman who has a film made about his life! Even though the movie is inspirational (we always like to see the guy on the bottom rise up and succeed), it still makes us believe that the pursuit of happiness is about a better income and more stuff.
Here are 3 things that I know to be true:
I. Money will never satisfy or bring fulfillment.
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:11
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
Some people believe and live the accumulation of money will bring them the happiness and fulfillment they desperately desire.
II. Learn to be content in Christ through living a life of significance.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” I Timothy 6:7-8
As a young adult, we seem to think that material things and money are the key to success. Many times, our lives are consumed with our quest for this type of “success.” When you get a little older and wiser, you realize that is really not the key to success…you long for significance.
III. Be a giver, not a taker.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians 9:7
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 35-40
My Pastor taught me that you are never more like Jesus then when you are giving.
When you live these three truths, you are going to be living the life of happiness, not pursuing it.