As I look at the people I know, I see basically three types:
1. The people who have been through the wars. They have learned what life is about through sacrifice of their happiness for a greater cause.
2. The new teen tidal wave. These young folks have been taught that life is not about them or materialism and they are ready to sacrifice to make a difference.
3. Those who are living with “happiness” as their primary motive.
The first two groups are small, yet powerful. From the warriors we obtain the stability that has made our nation great for many years. From the teen tidal wave rises our hope for a better tomorrow.
What about the other group?
The other group is quite large and therefore receives the most attention from the influential corner of our society: in particular, the advertising industry. Advertising is primarily aimed at people who are making up their mind about things. The “happy” group is making up their mind where they want to stand and what they want to support.
Even churches spend lots of effort going after these guys because they are the largest segment of American society. We consider them our “mission field”.
What are we selling them? What are we telling them will make them happy since we know that is what they are motivated by and know that is the only way to “catch” them?
Until we begin to teach them the things that have been grasped by the warriors and the teen tidal wave, we are producing no change in their lives and habits. People who live with happiness as their primary value are unstable by nature. The gospel of Jesus is a gospel of stability: it provides an anchor for the soul when all other motivations fail. It’s fulfillment is found in commitment to its time tested values. The search for happiness is a very self centered approach to life. The true fulfillment of the gospel is found when the search for happiness ends and the quest for the fruit of the Spirit begins.
The pursuit of happiness is a value written into our constitution in more ways than one. Looking for deeper wells?
You’ll have to dig in a different place.