Hello Friends.You have no idea what joy has filled my heart (my MOM’s too) over all the well wishes, prayers, good vibes, and as my last post spoke of the overwhelmingly generosity of so so many who came together to help me. AND my MOM decided that I was well enough to go on a little adventure. Someone said to my MOM, “You must be so happy that Goose is doing better and you two can start taking hikes again.” Oh we are happy for sure. BUTT, this goes so far beyond happy. As we walked along, I even got to run, MOM and I talked about being happy, and being filled with joy. In the photos to follow you can see the joy just bursting from me. There is a big difference between happy and joy my friends.
There is a board game called Careers. The goal of the Careers game is to fulfill your Success Formulae, a formula each player creates out of three categories: money, fame, and happiness. Traveling around the board each player earns points for landing on squares like "Find Cure For Hiccups" (Score 10 ), or "Take A Florida Vacation" (score 8 ). Whichever player successfully gets enough money, fame, and happiness points to fulfill their "success equation" is the winner.
But while the money portion of the equation is basically fulfilled by sequential salary increases; and while fame is reached by doing obviously great, note-worthy activities: the happiness portion of the equation is reached by doing seemingly silly things. It was apparently so difficult of the game's creators to think of events worthy of true happiness that they came up with a not-so-subtle cheat. For a fee, any player can earn happiness hearts by paying to stay on the Florida Vacation square. Every time you pay to stay you earn a few more happiness hearts. In other words, money does buy happiness.
And this is what most of the world thinks about that tepid, shallow emotion called happiness. If you have enough money, enough toys, enough things - you can be happy.
Perhaps that's why Scripture never concerns itself with happiness as we know it. The Scriptures do not have any interest in happiness because happiness CAN be bought. McDonald's got it right in its kid-oriented package called a Happy Meal. Happiness is a cheap, momentary, easily purchased and easily discarded feeling rooted in the fulfillment of selfish desires.
In 1Peter 1:1-12, Peter is concerned with spelling out the most basic building blocks of Christian faith. The passage enumerates what makes the way of Christ distinct, unique, and worth the hardships a 1st century confessing Christian was sure to endure. All can confidently hold in their hearts the future hope of salvation. But in the here and now, in our day-to-day existence in this fallen world, Peter identifies a different distinguishing characteristic that marks a disciple of Jesus: JOY. Joy is as far a distant from happiness as marshmallow salmon eggs are from Beluga caviar. You might say, “Goosie what is the difference between happiness and joy?”
Well friends joy is a command. There are lots of scriptures that command joy. My favorite is 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you". Joy holds on and holds out. Happiness blows off and on, hot and cold. Happiness is fleeting; joy endures.
Think of this, at the moment of a great sports victory happiness is at its zenith. For one triumphant, exhilarating, moment the winner is the victor, happiness rolls over the winning team like a Jacuzzi set on typhoon mode. Nothing could feel better. For a few hours. For, perhaps, a day. But that adrenaline-soaked happiness is almost immediately infected with "what if" viruses. "What if this is the only triumph I ever get?" "What if we lose big next year." "What if I can never again play as well as I played today?" Every athlete knows that the happiness of victory is the most momentary, the most fleeting, the most unrepeatable moment in their lives.
Joy refuses to be squelched, submersed, or sublimated. Joy isn't dependent upon personal strength, personal ability, or personal achievement. Joy is rooted in God, nourished by faith, sustained by grace. Happiness can be a solitary emotion. Rejoicing is a community enterprise. You can be happy by yourself. You rejoice with others.
With my recent illness (which is still a mystery) I am happy that I seem to be on the mend. BUTT I rejoice with all of you who shared your concern, love, thoughts and good vibes with me. This community we call Blogville is how the Church should be, where we are invited to rejoice together. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstance. Paul said that, you might have expected Paul to put prayer first: 'the Church is the people who pray together'; but he does not. It's joy that comes first. And, whether or not this occurred to Paul, it's profoundly important. Unless we're filled with joy we cannot pray. Happiness is from the world. Joy is from Christ. In fact, joy is Christ.
There was a cup on eBay that people were bidding on. Here was the item description that inspired the intense bidding: A FINE EARLY LUSTER CHILD'S CUP WITH RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT; PRINTED IN BLACK WITH A PINK LUSTER TRIM, probably Staffordshire or N. East England (Sunderland), circa 1820. It was probably given originally to a child, perhaps as a Sunday School prize or as a reward for scriptural achievement.
Here's the message printed on the Sunday School cup. “Let others worship glittering dust. And boast of earthly toys. Christ is my rock, my hope my trust and spring of all my joys!" Could the hunger for this go-for-the-true-gold message be why the bidding on this gold trimmed cup went to $252.50?
I’ll say it again: Happiness is by chance. Joy is by command. Happiness is a choice. Joy is a commitment. Happiness evaporates. Joy endures. Happiness is rooted in human emotions. Joy is rooted in God's grace. Happiness is a happenstance. Joy is a commission.
Thank you again my friends for being a part of the joy that fills me and MOM’s heart, during happy times and hard times.