Happiness Multiplies When It Is Divided
February 2 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

The creation story in the book of Genesis emphasizes the fact that human beings, unlike lower animals, were created in the image of God. We are charged by our Creator with the responsibility of making judgments and choosing between behaviors.

God gave to Adam and Eve the responsibility not only to make choices, but to make right choices. However, they disobeyed God and were cast out of the garden. Adam blamed Eve for their predicament. Eve blamed the serpent.  You and I follow in their train by blaming Adam and Eve. It is a game called “passing the buck.”

It is much easier to blame others than to assume responsibility for wrong choices and the serious consequences they bring on us, isn’t it? The reason we humans make so many wrong choices is that we want instant gratification — in other words, pleasure.

We confuse the concepts of “happiness” and “pleasure.” While a balance of both is a great formula for a satisfying life, the confusion between the two, and the emphasis on the latter, causes chaos for individuals as well as families, and inevitably, for society.

Multitudes of people in America are devoted primarily to pleasure — their number one priority is to live it up, to have a good time. As they say, you only go around once. But as satisfying as pleasure is, it is also transitory and often quite superficial. Pleasure is an event; happiness is a process. Pleasure is a destination; happiness is a journey. Pleasure emphasizes the material; happiness emphasizes the spiritual. That is why the surest steps toward happiness are the church steps.

Pleasure revolves around what you want; happiness emphasizes others. That is why the happiest people you know are, and will always be, those who are unselfish and seek to serve the needs of others.

When your world revolves around doing only, or primarily, the things that bring you pleasure, such self-centered actions can generate pain for others, and often does. It also diminishes your own potential for self-esteem and personal achievement.

There is an old fable about a young dog that had somehow conceived the idea that the secret of happiness would be his the day he caught the end of his tail. So, day after day he chased it, going round and round, with the end of his tail always just a few inches ahead of his nose.

Then one day he confided in an old dog, and said, “If I can ever catch up with my tail, then I will be happy, for I have been told that happiness is only found that way.” 

“Long ago,” said the wise old dog, “I believed that myth. But finally I gave up trying to catch my tail and went about the business of living. I have discovered that when I do that, both my tail and happiness come right along after me.”

God’s Word teaches us how to be happy: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind free from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, and scatter sunshine.

Thought for today: Happiness adds and multiplies as you divide it with others.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)    
2/2/2010 6:17:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments

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