Be the Right Kind of Happy
Pastor Barry Klein, Staples Church of Christ
The dictionary definition of “happy” is “delighted, pleased or glad” in a more recent unabridged dictionary. Interestingly enough, in Webster’s first 1828 dictionary the word “properly” precedes the rest of the definition of “happy.” Uhhmm. Something significant has been dropped over the centuries regarding the true state of being happy.
So, if we recapture the original intent of being happy as requiring guidance for “the pursuit of happiness,” (in being “proper”) we need to stop and ask ourselves: “how did such an important guiding intent of “properness” get dropped?” We are talking about a slippery slope.
I remember in the 70’s and 80’s hearing in seminary one particular professor describe the loss of the “cultural Christian Consensus” in Europe and the United States. (It’s a significant study in history to see how often the United States has followed suit in adopting moral set backs from Europe.) This isn’t about sugar coating any given decade in an embellishing way. But, nonetheless, we do need to be honest when foundational gains are being lost.
I remember coming across a book (1979 copyright) that was written by a sociologist entitled, Me: The Narcissistic American. It wasn’t written by an intentional Christian perspective, but nonetheless, the evidence of our slippery downward slope of selfishness was being observed and measured. We were losing ground at the level of foundations.
So, how do we care about and re-enter being “properly” happy? Some songs from the past give us guidance. We teach our kids the song “Happy, happy, happy, happy”: happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” The hymn says, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Let’s be “delighted, pleased and glad” by following Jesus, who gives us guided “properness” in a truly life-giving way. Remember, He sees the whole picture and we often don’t. Please read Isaiah 55:6-9 for further reflection.