Thought for the Day HCR 104 FM 4th June 2018

books on bookshelves
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I saw a book on a supermarket shelf that set me thinking, the title was ‘How to be Happy (or at least a little less sad)’. It seems that happiness is a strong consideration that is high on the agenda of a lot of people in our country. Yet when checking the international index of happiness the UK come out 19 of 155 countries two years running 2017 and 2018.

There is also very clearly an awful lot of unhappiness around us, and everywhere you go you find people who are very clearly unhappy. For many feel let down by friends and family, many feel trapped for all sorts of reasons and many unfulfilled in many aspects of their lives.

For many it is that expectations have not been achieved. So many feel that they have failed and that failure is not an option.

Yet failure is all part of the human condition, none of us can actually come up to the expectations of ourselves let alone others, and yet we are constantly told that they can.

In the bible there is a short passage in a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a church in Galatia in Asia Minor (Turkey to you and me, the place where many of us go on holiday to get some sunshine , relax and cheer ourselves up).

Paul wrote this

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Now many of the churches to whom Paul wrote his letters were not popular and existed alongside many other cultures that were not sympathetic to the Christians. This could make life quite difficult and would not, to our eyes seem to offer much happiness.

Yet despite the oppositions these churches grew in size and the word we read in this letter might give us a clue as to why.

To us happiness is largely linked with what we have, what we can get and what we can do.

The message that we see here is that happiness is not about what we can get, but about what we can give. This sounds very strange to us, but ask those who have the opportunity to give. I recently overhead a conversation with a man who spends time as a volunteer working on a farm, the joy and passion as he spoke with great satisfaction about what he was able to do.

Jesus had something to teach us about happiness in Matthews gospel and I am using the Good News bible, a modern version.

“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Happy are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
“Happy are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
“Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
“Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
“Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
10 “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!

11 “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.

Being counter cultural may not be easy but with commitment the result can be fulfilment as many can testify.

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