Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What Makes Us Happy?

My friend Aerie Changala, the business program director for Nuru International's work in southwestern Kenya, sent me this video and accompanying article from "The Atlantic." Aerie is a well read, and well thought Basque man with a huge heart. He sent this article both as something to think about with regard to my dad's health and recovery, as well as something to be mindful of in my stage of life.

While the study has very little spiritual connection, it did find that people with a deep sense of faith and a commitment to serving others and living beyond themselves lived the healthiest lives and experienced the greatest joy in what they did. Those who lived for themselves alone, seemed to die earlier, become bitter, and developed many unhealthy habits along the way. The study attempted to be holistic, but also showed that there are so many factors that wind together to make up life, that it makes it hard to really nail down the secret.

As I'm writing this blog entry, I can't help but think of the words of Jesus, "Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Jesus is essentially laying out in one sentence what this Harvard study is taking 70+ years to synthesize. Of course it makes sense that service is key, and service improves our lives. "No greater love has any man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

As I think about this study, and the words of Jesus, all that keeps running through my mind is tension between the good and the best. Sure it is good to serve other people. It improves our health, and it gives us joy. But it is BEST to serve Christ. Ultimately, when we serve Christ, we are compelled by the nature of His mandate and example to serve others. Whatever we've done to the least of these, we've done to Him.

When I look at the life my dad has led, I see a man who constantly looks to serve Christ by serving others. He doesn't always articulate it, but it is abundantly clear in my life of watching him and looking to him and my mom for guidance and for role models. When I think about my own life, I desire more than anything to lay it down for the sake of knowing Christ and serving Him. No matter what this life may throw at me, I am singularly convinced that the true and deep secret to happiness is found in Christ.

As I wrote that statement, I grew a little concerned that you might read that and just gloss over it as a religious cliché or trite statement. Go back over it and read again. No matter what this life may throw at you, I am singularly convinced that the secret to happiness is found in Christ. If you are reading this note and that seems a foreign concept to you, I want to ask you to meditate on the Person of Christ. Think about His life, His death, and His resurrection. Seriously. Set aside a couple of minutes right now in the office, or at home, or wherever you are, and contemplate Him and His life of sacrifice. Seek to follow His example, as well as the example of others as they seek to imitate Him.

May you experience the fullness of life that comes solely from King Jesus.

1 comment:

Aly said...

hey billy. refreshing post. thanks! i hope all is well with you!!