Pastor Laryy Sorrells,
Rovkville, Trinity UMC
I have recently been researching the topic of happiness. What does it take to be happy? What makes a happy life? I then discovered a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that made me rethink where I was going with my research. Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Perhaps it is in following this advice we find ultimate happiness, not something merely temporary or one-dimensional.
I remember learning about Methuselah when I was a boy. The Bible tells us he lived longer than any other man, 969 years. I thought to myself, this man must have accomplished a lot, after all, he lived so long. But when I looked him up and read about him in the Bible, it didn’t say much about him. All it told me was that he lived 969 years and begat sons and daughters. That was it. There was no record of his service to others or anything else about what he did. Nothing. It is though his life was one dimensional – nothing but length.
Jesus on the other hand, lived only 33 years. Yet Christ did so much in those years. He ministered to human needs. He changed the course of human events. Millions of lives have been made more abundant through following the pattern of the life of Christ. Thousands of books have been written about Jesus. His life was multi-dimensional. Christ’s life had depth, breadth, and height. The purpose of Christ’s life was not just one of finding what made Him personally happy. He said, “I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest” (John 10:10).
Where do you find happiness? How many dimensions does your life have? Let’s remember the advice of Emerson and especially the example of Jesus in seeking happiness and living life to the fullest.