P.E.A.R.s Periodic Encouragement And Reminders
How To Be Happier Than A Cow ©
by Robert E. Alderman, Jr.
If you were to describe your ideal of a “happy” life, what would your description contain – and what would it exclude?
Would it be all leisure and no work? Would it be endless days of sunshine swinging in a hammock under a big oak tree?
Is your concept of happiness related more to “great cheese comes from California cows” TV commercials or with the concept of “busy beavers” in the forest?
Finally, do you think Jesus was happy when He was on this earth?
“Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” is how Christ described His life in Matthew 8:20. In doing so, He inferred that people who follow Him will find themselves in a similar situation as to worldly comforts. Yet, in John 10:10, He says: I came that they (people who follow Me) may have life and have it abundantly.
How can the paradox of having nowhere to lay your head be reconciled with a life of abundance?
And how does Christ’s statement in Matthew 19:21 “If you wish to be complete, go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come follow Me” relate to happiness?
In the comic strip “Peanuts”, Charlie Brown once said, “I don’t expect to be happy; I just don’t want to be unhappy.”
Will you settle for what Charlie Brown hopes for OR you want the life of abundance Christ came to provide and offers?
John W. Gardner in his book “Excellence” says:
“We fall into the error of thinking that happiness necessarily involves ease, diversion and tranquility – a state in which all of one’s wishes are satisfied. [However] for most people, happiness is not to be found in this vegetative state, but in striving toward meaningful goals. The dedicated person has not achieved all his goals. His life is an endless pursuit of goals, some of them unattainable. He may never have time to surround himself with luxuries. He may often be tense, worried, fatigued. He has little of the leisure one associates with the storybook conception of happiness. But…he has found a more meaningful happiness.”
“One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that we can be very content and at the same time press forward toward more goals that the Lord has laid upon our hearts to achieve and accomplish. Our relationship with Christ allows us to be content in all situations and at the same time desire to change our situation” says Charles Stanley in “Success God’s Way”.
Comfort, peace, tranquility, or someplace to lay your head may sound like happiness when viewed from the human perspective and teachings of this world. But they often become distractions and misguided direction away from a more meaningful happiness and the true abundant life offered by Christ.
When the young man [with whom Jesus was speaking in Matt 9:21] heard what Christ said [that to become complete he would have to release all that he owned], he went away grieving for he was one who owned much property.
Thus, he failed to find the fullness of life he knew in his soul he needed, because his perspective and values as to where and how happiness is found were wrong.
Bruce Wilkinson in “The Dream Giver” explains it this way:
“One day I realized that my desire for comfort was the enemy of my Dream, and that ultimately my desire for comfort was rooted in my selfishness. Unfortunately, many people in all walks of life end up making personal comfort their Dream. But, it is a false dream, because comfort turns into a prison. A true Dreamer is a person whose life is in motion. If they’re not encountering a comfort zone issue regularly, something is wrong.”
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Returning to John W. Gardner and the statement on happiness from his book “Excellence”, he concludes with this statement:
“The truth is that happiness in the sense of total gratification is not a state to which man can aspire [on this earth]. Maybe for cows and possibly for the birds it might exist, but not for us.”
Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much and will inherit eternal life. [Matt 19:29]
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love. These things I have spoken to you that My joy may be iyou and that your joy may be made full. [John 15:10 -11]
The happy cows from California may look like they have “the life of Riley” and are rolling in clover, but for me personally (and I hope for you as well), the green pastures, quiet waters, restoration of my soul and the goodness that will follow all the days of my life from dwelling in the house of God (Psalm 23) is the true definition of happiness and abundance.
Have a great week! (And to my family, love Dad)
Orig publication: 5/3/05 – modified and posted TruthPursuit101: 3/24/17
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