Sun, 5 May 2019
Every year the Gallup organization releases a “World Happiness Report.” It ranks the countries of the world as to their happiness. Happiness is measured, in part, with survey questions such as, “Are [you] very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” “Very happy” responses are worth three points. “Pretty happy” is worth two points and “not too happy” is worth one point.
You might be interested to know where the United States ranks in the 2019 report. Let me go ahead and break the suspense: we are not #1. Despite our relative affluence and power, we don’t even make the top five or top ten. We barely squeak inside the top 20 at the #19 position. That’s ironic, isn’t it?
There’s an entire chapter in the “World Happiness Report” that explores this disconnect. Chapter five’s title begins, “The Sad State of Happiness in the United States.” Here’s a paragraph from that chapter:
“This decline in happiness and mental health seems paradoxical. By most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever. The violent crime rate is low, as is the unemployment rate. Income per capita has steadily grown over the last few decades. This is the Easterlin paradox: As the standard of living improves, so should happiness – but it has not.”
We all want to be happy, but many of us are not. To make matters worse, we may not even know how to be happy.
But here’s the good news--there is a king who knows how to be happy—truly happy. It’s written into the very constitution of his kingdom. That King is Jesus and his constitution is outlined in the Sermon on the Mount.
Our U.S. constitution guarantees the right to the “pursuit of happiness.” And, to be sure, we’re all frantically pursuing it, but Jesus’ “constitution” guarantees the “possession of happiness.”
This Sunday we begin a study of that unparalleled teaching. It show the way to a happiness that is soul-deep and abiding, no matter what turn life takes.
“How to Be (Truly) Happy”