Sun, 7 January 2018
A 2014 study by Harvard University listed the happiest cities in America. The results surprised many and were broadcast widely. The five happiest cities in America were all in the same state—Louisiana! These cities included our own Baton Rouge along with Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, and Alexandria.
In 2017 National Geographic produced a new list. There was not one Louisiana city in the top 25! Boulder, Colorado topped the list. I was curious as to why there was this radical change in the rankings. After a little bit of digging, I discovered the reason. They changed the criteria for how happiness is measured!
In the 2014 survey, researchers asked the people the following question: “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?” Responders could choose from the following answers: very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, and very dissatisfied. Louisiana folk were more satisfied than most with their lives.
In the 2017 the researchers did not ask people to self-assess. Instead, the researchers themselves determined the kinds of things that they believe make people happy—things like eating healthy, exercising regularly, financial security, vacation time, and even dental checkups. On those grounds, we here in Louisiana didn’t fare so well!
That raises the question: What are the criteria for happiness? What truly does make a person happy? What gives deep, abiding, unquenchable joy?
The good news is that we don’t have to be in doubt about that. Jesus tells us. Better than that, Jesus shows us. Please open your Bible to John 13:1-17. In these verses Jesus leads us down what I’m going to call “The Highway to Happiness.” He will show us how to have happiness and joy that is inexplicable and full.
The Final Word
“The Highway to Happiness”