BY CARL A. TRAPANI
Happiness is in short supply. Yet it is a fact that people want to be happy. Just ask them what they want to be, and inevitably they will say, “I just want to be happy.” How tragic that so few of them ever enjoy that condition for more than just a moment or two, now and then. It must be part of the tragedy of the human condition that a simple joyful state of existence eludes most of us. Happiness is so elusive and rare that many folks don’t know how to deal with it even when they find it. A few years ago I baptized a fellow who told me this was the happiest moment of his life. And all he could say was “Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog.” Where Does One Find Happiness?
People have sought happiness in many places but most have proven to bring disappointment.
– Not in UN-belief. Voltaire, a famous 18th century French writer and atheist wrote, “I wish I had never been born.”
– Not in Pleasure. Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure then wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”
– Not in Money. Jay Gould, an American millionaire said when dying, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
– Not in position and fame. Lord Beaconsfield, a prominent 18th century British politician and statesman wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”
– Not in military glory: Alexander the Great of Macedonia, conquered the known world by the time he was 30, then wept in his tent because: “There are no more worlds to conquer.” In the Bible? If one is
looking for happiness in the Bible, you’ll be disappointed again. It’s an amazing fact that the word “happiness” is never found in the King James version of the Bible. The word “blessedness” is used instead. Is God trying to tell us something? That it’s better to be blessed than happy? My studies have led me to conclude that happiness is bound up with blessedness, and that they are compatible terms. Jesus Christ taught that one would be “blessed” or happy by doing certain things. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when He was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them saying,”
– Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
– Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
– Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
– Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
– Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
– Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
– Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:1 -11
Notice that in each case, the person who does something, or gives of themselves, is given more, or better, in return.
This Scriptural principle found throughout the Bible.”…For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:7,8.
Even the proportions or measure in which one gives is part of the process of determining the amount of blessing returned. Selfish people are never happy. Only if you give because you have a genuine love for
those you give to, will they truly benefit. When you give to make others happy, you can’t help receiving benefits back to yourself, but remember, real love doesn’t do things in the expectation of a reward.
The secret of happiness is giving to make others happy.
Happiness and giving always go together. Receiving a gift is thrilling and pleasurable. The happiness and thrill is even greater when the gift is unexpected or undeserved. Jesus surprised men by teaching them that it is a happier experience to give than to receive. (“…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35).
The Reader’s Digest had an article about a widow who moved to Miami. It was sunny there most of the time, but the sunshine was around her, not in her. When Christmas came, she became very low in spirit. She went to a recreation center for retired persons and became even more depressed. Everyone else seemed drab, and unfriendly. Bored and blue because no one would even speak with her, she went over and picked out a few notes of “Silent Night” on an old piano in the corner. Then she sat down and really began to play. Soon people began joining in with her, applauding after each song. The atmosphere changed. Joy, happiness, and peace filled the room. Her first impromptu sing-along concert was such a success, that the retirees begged her to come back and play again. She did, and became a known in Miami as “Miss Sunshine.” She found happiness in giving to others through her talent.
What do you have to give? Money? There are things much more precious than money. All real gifts start from the heart. A French proverb states, “He gives nothing who does not give himself.”
Give impulsively when you feel the urge. Don’t wait or put it off! Don’t be selfish. It steals life’s real joys.
Plant a fruit tree in your old age-all your life you ate apples and peaches from trees you didn’t plant.
All of us have something to give that will bring us happiness.
Most important is what we give to God. The secret of true and lasting happiness is a life that is given to God every day.
You can find happiness in giving yourself and your possessions to others, but the greatest joy is in surrendering your life totally into the hands of the Lord. When we give ourselves to Him, He takes our
lives and fills them with joy and everlasting, never-ending happiness.
The time to be happy is now. And the place to be happy is here. And the way to be happy, is to make others happy, and have a little heaven down here!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, NOVEMBER
2002. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.