Monday, February 22, 2010

It’s more than just “don’t worry, be happy”

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Proverbs 8:32, 9:11-12 (New Living Translation): So my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. … Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

In 1988, Bobby McFerrin became semi-famous for singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” a reggae a cappella ditty with the whistler in the background that the world immediately took to. The title came from a famous quote from Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba, “don’t worry, be happy.” The song goes on, “In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double don't worry, be happy.”

McFerrin got it partly right, that we will, indeed, have trouble in this life and that worrying will only make it worse. So be happy! Happiness and joy are something everyone wants to attain, and there are plenty of self-help programs on the airwaves and the Internet to help you find your way. But much of what the secular world throws at us is all about “me.” Naturally, we live in the “me” generation. The world is slowly figuring out that all this emphasis on “me” doesn’t really help one to be happy.

We shouldn’t be focusing on me, we should be focusing on God. Whereas Solomon does not address happiness directly in the wisdom chapters of Proverbs (7-9), he does tell us that the way to find joy is by seeking God in all we do. King Solomon goes so far as to say that being joyful is the way to add years to our lives. If you seek wisdom from God, you will “benefit,” whereas if you “scorn” wisdom, you will be the one who “suffers.” Happiness is based on our external surroundings, whereas Joy comes from the heart.

The happiest people I know are Christians who have weathered life’s troubles by putting God first in their lives. That search for God led to more integrity and honesty, better decision making and healthier relationships in marriage, parenting and friendships, and to growing a heart to serve others. Those kind of people laugh more and live a healthy lifestyle. A right relationship with God leads to … less worry. That’s what we’re all after. Single adults who want to find wisdom should follow Solomon’s advice and seek wisdom (God) in all you do. If you remain single you’re happy and content, and if you marry, you’ll be better prepared to choose the right mate and be happy in remarriage and blended family life, which has its own troubles.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to seek you today in making decisions today. Help me to have wisdom in all my relationships. Amen

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